The past year has certainly brought a whirlwind of change to our lives due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This time last year, you may or may not remember your “normal” way of life. Fast forward a few weeks, and things would certainly become different. One of these things is our workplace destination. Instead of traveling to and from the office each day, we have found ourselves traveling to and from the dining room table, spare room desk, or even the living room couch. Since our 9-5s are now spent remotely, you may have noticed a surge in your bills due to being home all day. We have put together some tips that may assist you in lowering these bills and saving money.
- Use a smart thermostat. A great way to reduce energy costs is to install a smart, programmable thermostat. These thermostats automatically schedule your space to be a certain temperature depending on whether you are home or not. Setting your temperature to be a degree or two warmer in the summer, and cooler in the winter can save you money as well. And, with a smart thermostat – you can regulate everything from the comfort of your fingertips – your phone.
- Unplug devices when not in use. Items such as your cell phone charger, computer, laptop, printer, scanner, and microwave can be turned off and unplugged when not in use. Doing this after working hours conserves energy and reduces your electricity bill. This not only saves energy but also protects your products from overheating from power surges. Even when your devices are plugged in but not turned on, they are using power. Plugging them into a power strip can also help save energy as well.
- Wash laundry in cold water. Not only should you wait to use the washer and dryer when you have a full load, but you should also wash and rinse everything in cold water to save energy and money. Almost 75% of the energy used by washing machines goes to heating the water. Using cold water instead of hot can cut the energy use by more than half.
- Switch to LED lights. LED lighting not only has a much better look than other bulbs – but it also is energy efficient, creating a quick way to save money on the bills. LED lighting has an average lifespan of 50,000 hours compared to the traditional incandescent’s 1,800 hours. Even if these LED bulbs are running 24/7, they still can last up to 6 years without being changed. Try to find EnergyStar-approved bulbs for the best quality.
- Take advantage of natural light. Wherever you are working, whether it be the home office or the kitchen island, be sure to open the drapes and blinds to allow natural light to seep in. The fewer lights you have to turn on, (especially during the day) the more money you will save. Also, remember to turn lights off upon exiting the room. Natural light is known to boost one’s mood and productivity – so don’t be afraid to move your laptop to the room that has the most sunshine. (And on those nice days outside, move your home office to the patio!)
- Use energy savings settings on your computer. Many computers have settings that allow you to save energy – such as automatically lowering the power consumption if it is not in use. You can put your computer to “sleep” when you walk away or take a break, allowing it to temporarily lower its power use. Check your settings for these options your computer may have.
- Schedule an energy audit. Sometimes the best way to find out how your home is doing – is to have an energy audit performed. A professional will come to your house and assess how your home uses its energy, electricity, HVAC equipment, water heaters, etc. – and then can give you a plan on how you can better conserve this energy, thus saving you money in the long run.
We are not sure how soon offices will open back up and we will have the opportunity to travel to the workplace every day. Seeing coworkers, eating in the lunchroom, hanging out at the coffee machine, and regularly having real-life human interaction all seem like things of the past. As this new way of life becomes what may be the new normal, we hope you are all staying safe and healthy. And in the meantime, we hope these tips can also help you save some money on your bills, too.