You spend a lot of time in your home office, so why not make that time efficient for your home? With a few easy and simple steps you can make your office work for you and help save your hard-earned dough.
If you don’t have air conditioning in your home, make the cool air you do have count by replacing the overhead light with a flush ceiling fan. Adjust the fan to turn counter-clockwise in the summer, that way the cool air will stay lower while the fan pushes hot air up. Even if you do have air conditioning, a fan allows you to run your air less often. Cool the house, then turn off the air and let the fans do the work. Reverse the blade direction for winter to circulate warm air down.
Keep the Sun Out
Direct sunlight can heat up your office quickly, so take measures to minimize the direct light throughout the day. In fact, proper landscaping can help save you up to 40 percent on your energy bill, according to LandscapeforLife.org. Outside, nearby trees and shrubs can provide shade to your windows. Notice where the sun is at its hottest and at what angle the sun shines in. Plant a new tree or shrub in the path between the sun and your window. Inside, install energy-efficient window coverings. Light-filtering cellular blinds are a good option because you can still keep your office cool without sacrificing natural light.
Get Your Green On
Houseplants improve perception of work as well as your attitude. Plants also help reduce molds and bacteria in the air, as well as other toxins. Boston Ferns and Bamboo have been shown to be among the most effective at reducing formaldehyde in the air. Many plants that are suitable for an indoor environment are also low-maintenance. Adding some greenery to your office space will not only help you feel good about your work but will also make you healthier.
Electronics Pitch In
Like many of us, you probably have your fair share of electronics in your home office. Make sure they are pulling their weight by plugging all of them into a power strip. Not only will you be protected in case of a power surge (think: summer thunderstorms) but you can simply flip the switch on the strip when you are done working for the day, turning everything off. Switch from a desktop computer to a laptop and you’ll save money too as laptops use less energy than a traditional desktop. Beware of “sleep” or “hibernate” modes when you shut down. In both modes, your computer is still drawing energy (same is true with light fixtures throughout your house), so better to shut it down completely.
Cheap doesn’t mean buy dated 1970s fixtures from the thrift store. Since you spend much of your day in your office, in a variety of lighting conditions, it’s important to optimize light for those conditions as well as the kind of work you do. All lights in your room should have LED, CFL or halogen bulbs, all of which can save you up to 80 percent on your energy bills versus typical incandescent bulbs. For detailed computer work, get a task light. And any lamps with shades should have opaque or light-colored shades Better than light bulbs is the sun. Light from the sun is free, so take advantage of it. Orient your desk to allow bright, but indirect light during your work day. Or look for a desk on wheels that you can turn as the light moves across your office throughout the day.