For the 4th of July, I thought this would be a good time to point out some of the simple ways to save money on your energy bills and also conserve energy overall. This time I'll focus on the home office since more than 34 million Americans are telecommuting these days.
Activate Power-Management Settings - We've all seen the different power modes on our electronics however few of us use them or we find them inconvenient. These power settings can be set up to work automatically and can save up to $75 / machine annually according to Energy Star.
Plug your electronics into power strips (especially the new Green ones) - Since many of our chargers are on even when the smartphone, SupraKey, or computer isn't plugged into the other end, we could knock off multiple power drains with the flick of one button.
If you're looking to upgrade look for Energy Star-rated equipment - Energy Star estimates that this can save hundreds of dollars over the new equipment's lifetime.
Go Laptops - With Laptops becoming more and more powerful many are turning to them in lieu of the desktop. This is a good move since laptops generally use 1/3 the power of the old faithful.
Throw out the CRT - Exchange your old CRT monitor for a Flat panel since LCD or Flat Panel's use half the energy as the old tube does.
Trade in your bulbs - Exchange the old traditional bulbs for the new compact fluorescents. These savings add up and the bulbs last a lot longer too which means less inconvenience as well.
Buy CFL versions of Halogens - If you use them, choose CFL and save 75% at just about the same cost...
Think about "task lighting" - A desk lamp that allows you to work versus an overhead room light will be more focal and save money. It may also be more relaxing and allow you to be more productive.
Lamps should go in corners - Use your walls as bounces to help magnify lighting.
Turn off lights - Easy enough....flip the switch.
Adjust your thermostats during the say - Especially when you're not home you should adjust your thermostats appropriately. It may also pay off to get a programmable one so you can set it and forget it.
Choose Fan - Instead of using the HVAC to heat and cool the whole home you can get more focused by using space heaters and fans, saving oodles of money.
While most of this list requires very little effort very few of us stay focused enough to do it. In this day and age of looking under every rug, and checking every nook and cranny for savings, here are some quick and easy methods to put a little more money in your pocket and do something for the environment as well. Feel free to share this with anyone you know that has a home office...maybe they'll take you to lunch with their newfound savings.