We may be heading back to the office soon, but as physical distancing requirements and a newfound emphasis on flexible working continues to influence our return, you probably won’t be packing up your work-from-home setup anytime soon. Incorporate energy-saving habits into your daily routine to waste less and save more.
Think before you switch.
Wherever your home office is situated, let the sunshine in. Whether you’re set up in a designated office, a spare bedroom or from the dining room table, maximise the natural light by opening your curtains and blinds and positioning your desk near a window. Not only will the natural light save you on lighting costs, daylight is proven to play a part in your mood, energy levels, productivity and circadian rhythm (your ‘body clock’)1. If the day gets gloomy and you need to add some artificial light, opt for a desk or pedestal lamp rather than your overhead lights. Added bonus: natural light is the key to improving the lighting for your video calls as well.
In an effort to boost battery life, laptop computers are designed for energy efficiency—a standard laptop uses significantly less energy than a desktop. If you have the choice, or you’re considering an upgrade, keep this in mind.
Throughout the day, remind yourself to purge any unnecessary apps, windows, programs or documents. Extra tabs mean extra processing power required to keep your computer running—which chews up your computer’s energy. If it’s been a while since you closed apps on your mobile (we’re all guilty of this at one point or another), here’s your reminder to clear those too.
Be back in five.
When you step away from your desk for your well-deserved break, put your computer on ‘sleep mode’, and turn off any animated or ‘always-on’ lock screens. They may be called screensavers, but they actually use full energy.
If you’re logging off for the day, or better yet the weekend, unplug your mind and your devices. Your laptop charger continues to draw power, even if a device isn’t plugged in to it. This energy adds up—standby power can account for 10% of your household’s energy bills 2, so it’s worth paying attention to. If you’d rather set and forget, invest in a standby power controller (SPC). These devices will handle the hard work for you, featuring automatic shut offs when you turn off your computer, or after a certain time of inactivity.
The hot beverage debate is a tale as old as time—coffee or tea. When the clock strikes ‘morning tea time’, what do you pick? From an energy perspective, let’s compare:
Boiling one full jug of water (in a standard 1.7L kettle) uses 200 watt hours (Wh) of energy—almost the same amount as powering your computer monitor for 10 hours.
Assuming a 1710W coffee machine using pods, you’ll use approximately 4Wh of energy for every shot—plus any energy used to heat or steam water and milk.
This is no call to skip your morning brew, but remember to only boil the water you need. At the end of the day, whatever you choose is still cheaper than a daily barista-made coffee.
Maximise the time of day.
Has your daily routine changed? If you’re spending more time at home during the day, it might be a good opportunity to check you’re on the best energy plan, and pricing plan, for your household’s needs. One size does not fit all, and it’s important to know how they work. The two most common pricing plans for ActewAGL customers are ‘flat-rate’ and ‘time-of-use’ (TOU). A TOU pricing plan is based on three periods: peak, shoulder and off-peak, and your electricity is charged accordingly. If you’re able to make use of shoulder or off-peak rates while you work from home, you may be able reduce the cost of your energy.
If you’d like some extra energy advice to find the best energy and pricing plans for you, call our local team to check in on 13 14 93 (between 8am–6pm, Monday–Friday). We’ll review your usage history and make sure your home is set for success.
Speaking of barista-made brews, how much home energy do you get for the price of a small, takeaway coffee? It’s probably more than you think.
Beyond your usage, there are a few things you can do to make bill time a breeze and reduce your energy costs. Do you have the skills for better bills?