Even if you don’t work at home as I do, you probably have some sort of a home office set up in your home. It’s a place to keep the computer and various papers you need. It’s a quiet place to work when you need to get something done.
You may not have given much thought to how much energy you use in your home office. It’s one of those rooms where it’s easy to have bad habits. These are some basic fixes that you should consider for your home office and possibly other rooms.
1. Turn Off the Computer at Night
Lots of people just leave their computer on all of the time. It’s easy, and then you don’t have to wait for it to boot up in the morning, which can be annoying. But it also wastes energy.
If you can’t bear the thought of turning your computer on a few minutes before you’re ready to use it, at least make sure it goes to sleep mode when you’re away from it.
2. Beware the Phantom Loads
When you shut down your computer, do all the accessories turn off too? The monitor, the printer, the speakers? If they don’t they’re still drawing power.
You should of course not bother to even turn on accessories that you won’t be using anyhow. My printer is rarely powered on, for example, because I very rarely use it.
Get a Smart Strip or similar product rather than the usual surge protector. These still protect your electronics from power surges, but also turn off the power to peripherals when you turn the main item off. It’s great for computers and television sets. Just be sure that anything that should keep power is in one of the always-on plugs.
Alternatively, you can remember to turn off the power to your current surge protectors. That works too, just be sure that anything that needs to keep power isn’t on that line.
3. Consider a Laptop Computer
When the time comes to replace your computer, consider a laptop model rather than a desktop. They use far less power. There are some disadvantages too, such as keyboard size, but for most people a laptop is an excellent choice.
4. Make Recycling Convenient to Your Home Office
You may or may not make a lot of paper trash in your home office, but if you do, make sure you’re ready to recycle that paper. A bin just for recyclables is easy to put in a corner or under the desk.
Also have a place to keep your empty printer cartridges for recycling. Some places will pay you to bring them in. Check with your local office supply store.
5. Reuse Paper When Possible
How often do you really need a fresh sheet of paper. Most printing is done on only one side, and you may only need the printout a short time. Take advantage and save paper for a second use for those times that you don’t need a fresh sheet.
Don’t forget to buy post consumer recycled paper when you need new.
6. Take Advantage of Natural Lighting When Possible
Why turn on a light if the sun can do the same job for free? This isn’t a good idea all year – if the heating from the sun during the summer is making you need the air conditioner you’d be smarter to block it and use a lamp to see by, but otherwise enjoy natural sunlight.
7. Bring in a House Plant
Plants clean the air naturally. They look better than an air purifier too. Plants add a touch of beauty to any room and give you a chance to express your personality.