With so many of us working from home, educating our kids from home, and still doing all the things we normally do at home like laundry, dishes, cooking, and watching TV, folks might have noticed an uptick in their energy bills of late. In fact, research done by Tufts University showed that “household electricity use in the United States rose 10 percent during the second quarter of . The rise in residential consumption means that households spent nearly $6 billion on extra electricity from April to July [of 2020].” Professor Steve Cicala, who headed the research, says that “This is an enormous shift,” for two reasons. First, energy consumption had been declining across the board in recent years due to energy efficient appliances and a greater focus on greener living. Second, even when there is a significant change in energy consumption, either an increase or decrease, a shift of ten percent is astronomical. “Year-to-year changes in electricity consumption tend to be around a single percent,” he said.
So what can we do to knock that electric bill down a few bucks again? Focusing on the energy we use while working from home is a good start, since that, in many cases, is one of the biggest changes our home activities have encountered this past year.
How to reduce energy usage in your home office
According to HomeSelfe, there are multiple ways we can conserve energy while we work from home. First, consider the computer you’re using. If you are able to use a laptop instead of a desk top, it might help a lot, as laptops tend to consume a whopping 80 percent less energy than a desktop. Plugging your electronics into a power strip instead of directly into the wall can help as well, as many devices suck energy even when they are turned off. However, if you plug them into a power strip and switch the power strip off when you are done using the things plugged into it, the devices won’t continue to drain electricity while not being used. Similarly, you can also just unplug things when they are not in use. Using an energy-efficient space-heater is also better than cranking up the heat in many cases if you are home all day.
Another easy switch is to consider ditching your incandescent light bulbs for energy efficient varieties. We totally understand people’s hesitation with this, as we often associate LED or other high-efficiency light bulbs with harsh white, blue-tinged light that makes us feel like we’re living inside a science lab. But according to New York Magazine, there are multiple options these days that actually emit lovely, warm, homey light, including Philips A19 bulbs, Soraa Healthy A-19 bulbs, and Phillips LED Non-Dimmable A-19 Frosted light bulbs, among others.
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