The global pandemic caused a rapid shift in the workplace for many industries, with a large percentage of employees adjusting to a work-from-home model. Now in 2021, many employers are embracing remote work for the long term. In the US, statistics show about 35% for fully remote employees or 30% of hybrid employees (with both in-office and from-home hours) moving forward.
Employees are now shouldering the costs of increasing electricity usage at home, however, where they previously relied on office power, equipment, heating or AC, microwaves for lunch, and more. US estimates show an increase of 10%-20% for residential electricity usage, or about $40-$50 more per month across the country. With a few minor adjustments, discover how to save energy while working from home.
Remote Work: Top 10 Ways to Save Energy
Help alleviate the uptick of electricity usage (and costs) during your work-from-home hours with these simple, thoughtful changes in your daily routine. Plus, find a few creative solutions for energy-efficiency.
- Use natural light. Opening the blinds lets in light so you can keep overhead lights to a minimum on sunny days. Plus, in colder months, the sun heats up your home and reduces the need for your heat to kick on.
- Program your thermostat and adjust your comfort level. A programmable thermostat helps you consistently set temperatures at certain times of the day. In the winter, layer up and set your thermostat a bit lower than your cozy nighttime hours. In the summer, set it where you are comfortable, but not at its maximum use during the heat of the day. Using a space heater or fan can also be more energy efficient than thermostat adjustments. Lowering your thermostat by just one degree saves about 6% on your energy bill annually.
- Use a power strip. For TVs, computers, phone chargers, and more, using a power strip saves energy versus plugging into a wall outlet. Go even further with a smart power strip, which turns off energy flow when devices are in standby mode.
- Unplug devices and appliances when fully charged or not in use. Did you know idle power usage (also known as vampire energy) adds up to about 10%-20% of residential electricity use? In addition to office equipment, this applies to toaster ovens, coffee pots, microwaves, and other appliances. Save by unplugging items and their charges when fully charged or not in use.
- Switch the power strip “off” when not in use. If all of your work devices (laptop, desktop, chargers, printers) are plugged into one power strip, it makes it easy at the end of the day to switch it off entirely.
- Use sleep mode on computers. While powering down or unplugging devices saves the most energy, you can save $10-$100 annually per computer by using the built-in energy efficiencies like sleep mode.
- Turn off lights. We’re constantly reminding the kids to turn off lights when they leave a room. If you’re home for much of the day working, the same rules applied can help save money on electricity every month.
- Switch to LED light bulbs and energy-efficient devices. While LED bulbs might cost more upfront, they last longer and cost about one-third to one-half less to power. For further savings, look for Energy Star labels when buying new electronics like computers, printers, and monitors.
- Keep HVAC system filters clean. If you’re home more hours of the day, it means more for your HVAC to filter. Clean filters use less energy, so check and change them regularly.
- Consider solar power. Take advantage of Texas’s sunny climate and consider installing solar panels to save money. The initial investment can be offset by federal and state rebates and incentives.
Bonus: Tax Tips for Employees Working from Home
The 2017 tax law changes prevent many at-home traditional office employees from deducting expenses, such as the $1,500 home office deduction for self-employed or independent contractors. Also, at-home work deductions are available only to those who itemize tax deductions and when expenses exceed 2% of adjustable gross income (source: SmartAsset). So while your at-home expenses may be rising, and the office’s utilities decreasing, you might be able to submit reimbursable expenses to your employer. Look into your company’s policy on eligible reimbursement items, such as internet, office equipment, and more.
Finding Affordable Electricity while Working from Home
Payless Power offers numerous ways to save you money on energy costs while working from home. First, our no-deposit plans mean your initial payment goes toward the cost of electricity from the start. No credit checks mean no lengthy wait time for approval. Plus, our short contracts (12 months or monthly) mean you aren’t stuck in a plan that doesn’t work for you. For working at home, consider Payless Power’s fixed-rate plans for predictable costs each month. Finally, our daily alerts let you monitor how much electricity you’re using, meaning you can adjust your usage and save money right away. Enter your Texas zip code to find a plan today.