Millions of people in the UK normally work from home. Recent events mean that many more of us have joined them – at least, on a temporary basis.
One impact of this change has been reduced pollution, improved air quality and reduced global carbon emissions. By not making your daily commute, travelling to meetings and attending events in person – and using the latest video conferencing and online meeting technologies instead – you have contributed to this positive impact on the environment.
Of course, increased time spent at home will have an impact on your domestic carbon footprint. And so, we asked our team of energy advisors for some ideas on the kind of things you can do to save energy and reduce your carbon footprint (and energy bills) while working from home. Here’s what they said.
It’s not easy picking an area in your home to work from, especially if it’s not something you’re used to doing. When it comes to picking your workspace, choosing an area that is well lit by natural light would be an energy efficient option.
A space that is full of free, natural light will remove the cost of buying and running a desk lamp for much of the day.
If you’re not accustomed to working from home during the day, you’ll probably want to make more use of your heating controls, such as turning off radiators in the rooms where you aren’t going to be working. There’s no point heating your whole home if you’re going to be spending most of the day in one spot. If you’re not commuting, you may find that you have bagged an extra hour in bed in the morning. That means you can also set your heating to come on an hour later too… win-win.
While you’re at it, why not consider turning down your thermostat by one or two degrees? A 1°C reduction in set temperature is thought to save up to 8% in heating costs. Of course, as the warmer weather comes in, you may find that you don’t need to use your heating at all, particularly if you can find a spot to work from that is naturally at a comfortable temperature.
It’s true that some chargers will not use energy if they are plugged in and not connected to their device. But many others do use power, known as ‘vampire power’. You can generally tell if you are a victim of vampire power by checking to see if the charger is warm. If it’s warm, it’s using energy and costing you money.
The easiest way to be sure that you’re not wasting energy is just to unplug all chargers that aren’t being used.
Why not make this a house rule and unplug all devices such as kitchen appliances, bedroom TVs, consoles, etc when they are not in use, rather than leaving them on or on standby all day?
Make full use of your IT equipment’s power saving options. Some energy saving settings can reduce your equipment’s energy consumption by 10%.
When making tea or coffee, overfilling the kettle is a habit many of us have, but boiling more water than is needed wastes energy.
Next time you’re making yourself a cuppa, make sure you only boil the water you need.
Lighting is a significant energy cost for most households. If you are going to be spending more hours working from home (perhaps with children who are staying off school), this cost could go up further. The best way to minimise this extra cost is to make sure you turn off your lights whenever you’re not using them.
Does your energy supplier charge you cheaper prices at different times of the day? If so, why not take advantage of this by working more during off-peak hours when your energy costs may be lower, and less during peak times when electricity is at a premium.
Working from home can give you the freedom to get out of your normal office clothes or uniform and wear what you want – within reason. So, when you’re working from home and start to feel a little chilly, instead of turning up the heating, why not just put on a hoodie or a warm sweater? Voilà.
One of the most effective ways to reduce your heating bill is to reduce heat loss. And the cheapest way to do this is to plug the gaps where you’re losing warm air.
Overly draughty doors and windows can be quickly, easily and cheaply fixed – often with items you’ve got lying around the house or shed, such as sealant, brush strips and foam tape.
Home Energy Scotland is a network of local advice centres covering all of Scotland. Its expert advisors offer free, impartial advice on energy saving, keeping warm at home, renewable energy, greener travel, cutting water waste and more. Funded by the Scottish Government and managed by the Energy Saving Trust, Home Energy Scotland’s mission is to help people in Scotland create warmer homes, reduce bills and help tackle climate change.
Check out what free support you can get by visiting their website.
So, there you go, 10 ways you can save energy and reduce your carbon footprint (and energy bills) while working from home. We hope you find them helpful and can start to put them into practice.
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