With energy costs at all-time highs, it’s time to think about how you can save money on your home office air conditioning costs. According to Energy Star, a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy, a little effort helps us all save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices.
Here are seven easy tips for working from home this spring and summer—and staying cool (and saving money) while you do it!
Unplug Unused Machines
Even when turned off, electronic devices like printers, copiers and even computers pull a small amount of electricity in standby mode and create heat. Don’t just turn off an electronic device, unplug it.
To make this easier when you leave your home office, plug multiple machines into power strips. Surge protection is valuable anyway, and you’ll only have to turn one switch back on to be up and running. Electrical outlets can often be behind furniture, and power strips solve the problem of reaching the cord’s termination.
Power Management for Computers and Monitors
Many computers and laptops now have features developed in cooperation with Energy Star that are designed to save power through managing how the device draws energy. On your desktop, you can “enable” these built-in energy-saving features if in settings you set the machine to enter “System Standby” or “Sleep Mode” after a specified period of time. Most common is to set it to between 30 and 60 minutes of inactivity.
In trying to save on air conditioning, don’t forget the heat generated by your monitor. Unlike computers, monitors should be set to “sleep” if inactivity is about 10 minutes. Not only will you save energy, with less heat generation there is less stress on your computer and monitor internal electronics.
Unplug When Charging Is Done
While it does no harm to the device to stay plugged in past 100% capacity, unplug battery charges or power adapters when you are finished charging. Like copiers, chargers will continue to draw electricity even when not in use.
Heat from Light Bulbs
In the last few years, there have been tremendous advances in light bulb technology, reducing the amount of heat generated while still giving off light bright enough for close work. Also look for fixtures and lamps with the Energy Star qualified seal to ensure even more reduction in heat generation. And remember to turn off all lights when you leave the room.
Location, Location, Location
While your office in a sunny, south-facing window may keep you warm in the winter, in summer it will drive you to turn up the air conditioning. Consider moving your office to a cooler, shadier location in the house. Even within the same room, a desk can be moved to a warmer or cooler location depending upon the time of year.
Don’t forget to pay special attention to cleaning air ducts as well as vents and registers in your home office. It’s often lack of ventilation that makes a room feel warm so be sure to create adequate airflow.
For the Coffee Drinkers
While nothing goes better with business work than a cup of delicious coffee, consider switching to iced coffee. You’ll have to brew the coffee a little stronger to stand up to the melting ice, or make ice cubes from leftover coffee. But a cold glass of iced coffee can reduce your need for air conditioning from within.
Sarah Boisvert is a business writer who has extensive experience in marketing, public relations, and sales. She also covers topics in manufacturing such as 3D Printing and digital fabrication.