About 3.9 million people worked from home in 2017. Telecommuting is on the upswing, jumping 115 percent since 2005. And while working from home has some advantages, like being able to work in your pajamas if you wish and avoiding a stressful commute, there are some challenges, too. Sure, you’re saving on fuel costs, but you may also be using more energy at home than you usually would. Daily work and living essentials contribute to a rise in energy use. Leaving the lights on, running a heater or AC and using tools of the trade, such as your office equipment, are all things you’ll turn on when you’re tackling your assignments from home. You can reduce your energy use when you’re working from home, and here’s how.
Work During Off-Peak Periods
Working from home offers flexibility — you can usually work the hours that suit you best. If your electricity provider offers weekly energy usage reports, it’s a good idea to ask for one. Weekly usage reports give you an idea of how much energy you consume throughout the day and night. You can also use these weekly reports to help you manage how much energy you’re using during work hours. The time of day you consume energy has a direct effect on your electricity bill. The good news is that with the right time management, you can reduce energy costs — many electricity providers offer lower rates during off-peak hours. And while off-peak hours vary from provider to provider, late afternoon electricity rates, from about 1 to 7 pm, are typically higher than morning and nighttime rates. So, if you can get your work done during off-peak hours, such as in the morning and nighttime, you can save money.
Another great option is finding an electricity provider offering free electricity plans on nights or weekends. You’ll find great plans designed to save you money on nights and weekends throughout the State of Texas, whether you work from home in Houston, Abilene, Corpus Christi, Tyler, Dallas/Ft. Worth or other areas. For instance, you can select a Direct Energy plan offering free electricity on the weekends. So, if you can get your work done from Friday at 6 pm to Sunday at 11:59 pm, you can save money. There’s also a 100% renewable green energy plan from TXU Energy offering a 100% Discount on all energy charges and TDU delivery charges per kWh during the nights hours. Signing up for a renewable energy plan can help you reduce your carbon footprint, too.
These are just a couple of examples of what some electricity providers are offering in different regions of Texas. With a little research and comparison shopping, you’ll find the right plan suited to your needs, whether you’re motivated to work during “normal” business hours or weekends and nights.
Once you pick the right provider, you can do some other things to help keep your energy use down while you’re working from home.
- Use smart power strips
Are you working from home? Chances are pretty good that you’re working on a computer. Your home office setup has probably got all the other office necessities, too, like a printer, scanner, router, FAX machine and a cell phone charger. If you have your electronic devices plugged into a traditional power strip, they’re drawing power, even when they’re not in use. This standby power is known as phantom power or vampire power, and it’s sucking your energy dry and increasing your carbon output. You can slay these vampires upgrading to smart power strips. With a smart power strip, you still have the convenience of expanding your outlets, with the advantage of having an intelligent power strip that can detect devices in standby mode to cut off power. Smart power strips can detect voltage drops and make changes to reduce energy consumption.
- Take advantage of natural sunlight
If you’re all about working during the day, you can still reduce energy use. Choose the brightest spot in your home to work. In the winter, open the curtains and blinds and let in the sunshine. Natural light is excellent for working. Turn off desk lamps and overhead lighting, and you’ll see savings. Letting in natural sunlight has another advantage — during the winter, it can naturally heat your home so you can limit how often the heater kicks on. So what about when the weather is warm? In the summer, you’ll want to close the blinds. Of course, this can dampen the amount of natural sunlight that enters your home. On the flipside, shutting the blinds can help cool your home.
- Turn off devices you don’t need
Do you need to have the television on while you’re working? Besides draining energy, televisions are distracting and can keep you from concentrating on the task at hand. You can take it a step further by unplugging the TV and other electronic devices you don’t need.
- Use ENERGY STAR® equipment
How old is your office equipment? You can save money with an upgrade. Buy ENERGY STAR® rated monitors, computers, printers and copiers. ENERGY STAR® office equipment uses less energy to perform daily tasks. Plus, when they’re not in use, they automatically go into a low-power mode.
Be an Energy Watchdog
Do you live and work in a large household? Whether you have lots of kids running around or roommates, your presence enables you to take charge of the energy use in your home. Children are especially prone to leaving on the lights, tablets and other electronic devices. You have the power to become an energy watchdog. Turn off electric devices like televisions and computers when the kids are at school. You can use this time to set some household rules regarding energy use.
Make the Switch Now is a great time to switch electricity providers, whether you work from home or commute. Compare real-time rates at Vault Electricity and find a plan that works for your household.