We know a lot of Aussies are spending a lot more time at home as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. (Fun fact: I’m currently writing this from my kitchen table.)
At work, the lighting, charging, heating, cooling and coffee-making costs aren’t something you need to think about. At home, it’s a different story. Here are a few things you can try to keep your energy spend under control.
1. Use natural light
Where is your home office? If it’s tucked away in a dark room, keeping the light on all day will start adding up. So if there’s a way you can move your set-up somewhere with natural light, you’ll give that lightbulb a break. Bonus points if it means setting up camp in an unexpected part of the house.
2. ...Or get energy-efficient lighting
There might not be a good way to set up a naturally-lit home office – and sometimes ‘natural light’ is sitting somewhere behind dark clouds.
The silver lining is that this might be your opportunity to fit those energy-saving lightbulbs you keep reading about. If you can use a single lamp instead of lighting up a whole room, even better.
3. Say goodbye to standby
Remembering to flick things off at the switch feels a lot like hard work when you’re in regular day-to-day mode. But what if it was just part of your end-of-day pack up routine? Consider running all your ‘work’ energy through one power board and just turn it off at the switch when your day’s done. It’ll help you avoid wasting energy by keeping things on standby, and could be a good way of allowing yourself to check out mentally, too.
4. See what your computer’s using
Some apps use a lot of energy. Your computer can usually show you the culprits, so you can switch them off if you’re not using them.
While you’re at it, see if there are any energy-saving modes you can apply. They’ll conserve energy while you’re plugged in, and give your battery more life when you’re on the move. (You know, from the living room to the kitchen.)
5. Laptops over desktops
Laptops generally use less power than desktop computers. So if you’ve got the choice, work off your laptop. You should still be able to hook it up to your monitor too – get in touch with your employer to see if they can send you a cable for it.
6. Embrace the costume change
The good thing about your house is that it’s where your clothes live, too. So if you’re ever feeling too warm or too cold, whip over to your wardrobe and pick out something else before turning on the split system. Given you’re staying in, why not make it that very ugly – but especially cosy – jumper from 20 years ago?
If you really need your heater or cooler, close the doors and use draught stoppers so you’re not wasting energy on rooms you’re not using.
7. Cash in on off-peak
If you’ve got peak and off-peak rates with your energy plan, you’re in luck. That’s because you can save money by chucking on appliances during off-peak times (like your lunch break). They’ll still use the same amount of energy, but the associated cost will be smaller.
And when you do use things like washing machines and dishwashers, make sure they’re full, so you’re not turning them on as often.
Want more tips?
These tips are specific to working from home. For more energy cost saving ideas, check out our 47 energy saving tips post.