Saving money with an energy-efficient home office
There are many advantages to working at home, but the associated bills can be a significant downside. Heating your office and powering your computer 9-5 means it’s not unusual to see household bills double after becoming a home worker.
Remote workers may be able to claim expenses from their employer, and the self-employed are eligible for tax breaks on running costs – see the government website for more information.
However, it’s likely your electricity and gas bills will remain a considerable expense. If you want to cut the cost of working from home – and be kinder to the environment – making your office more energy efficient is well worthwhile.
One of the best strategies is choosing energy-efficient equipment. If you frequently use a computer, its energy rating will have a huge influence on annual bills. According to the Energy Saving Trust, laptops typically use 85 per cent less power than desktop PCs. Features like screen size and processing power impact efficiency, so don’t buy a higher spec than you need.
When purchasing any electronic appliance, look out Energy Saving Trust Recommended and ENERGY STAR labels, and compare energy labels to find the most efficient models. Always choose energy-saving lightbulbs over high-wattage alternatives.
Of course, it’s not just what you buy: the way you use your equipment is also important. Here are some tips:
- Take advantage of power-saving features like auto-standby on your computer
- Unplug appliances when out of use
- Only boil the amount of water you need in the kettle
- Only switch on lights when natural daylight is inadequate
Keeping your home office at a suitable temperature can be very expensive. In winter, make sure you layer with thermals and jumpers before turning to heaters. When it gets too cold, gas central heating is generally the most efficient option. If you have thermostats, save even more by turning down radiators in rooms other than your office. uSwitch has more information.
In summer, dress in cool clothing and open some windows to bring the temperature down. If it’s still too hot, a desk fan is the best option – running an air conditioner can be very expensive.
If you’re willing to invest more in making your home energy efficient, look into measures such as insulation and solar panels. In the long-term, these are usually very cost-effective. Need a loan? Find out whether you’re eligible for the Green Deal to take advantage of a money-saving finance plan.