9 ways to reduce power usage when working from home
Working from home is becoming a reality for many Territorians. As we adapt to a global pandemic, listen to government advice, and stay in our homes, we need to be mindful of how these changes impact us. Power consumption will dramatically change over this period and it make sense to implement simple tactics to stay ahead.
- Use your blinds and curtains. We know that too much sun can cause unwanted glare on our computer screens, but it can also be counterproductive to cooling. When the sun is shining through the window, the room will heat up. Our response is usually to reach for the aircon remote! By taking measures to block direct sunlight with blinds and curtains you reduce how quickly your space heats. If you’re in Alice Springs and approaching winter, closing curtains will also help to lock the heat in.
- Lighting, what bulbs are you using? While you reduce natural light and sunshine, you will still need to keep your space appropriately lit. Check that your bulbs are energy efficient by replacing high bay or fluorescent lights with LEDs. If your workspace has multiple down lights, it might be worth investing in a lamp that uses just one bulb.
- Use fans and aircons together and effectively. Here’s a daily challenge for you! Set your fan on high when you start your working day. This will help you stay cool without the need for an aircon straight away. When things get a little hotter, try switching your aircon on between 25°C and 27°C. Keep the fan on to help disperse the cool air.
- Keep those doors closed. If you can, try to set up your workspace in a small area that can easily be closed off. A spare room or a corner in the bedroom are great spots. By sectioning off a space you can close doors to keep cool air in. This means you will be able to switch off the aircon more often and stay cool. This also applies to heating if you’re in Alice Springs, try to heat one small space and not the whole house.
- Avoid standby. At the end of a long day it can be very tempting to log off and walk away. While it’s great to get some downtime, make sure your computer does too. Leaving computers and devices on standby is an unnecessary waste of power. Take an extra 5 minutes to shut everything down and switch off at the wall. This small change can greatly impact your bill.
- Keep up those old routines. One of the benefits when working from home is being able to get some of those chores done during a lunch break or between the daily tasks. While this is a bonus, try to keep the frequency the same as when you worked in the office. We all have a bit more time on our hands, and it is tempting to vacuum more often or wash clothes now rather than wait for a full load. However, this adds up to more power usage, and can easily be avoided. Try to think about how often chores were done when you were in the office and keep those habits the same.
- Limit snacking. That peckish feeling can be all too real when working from home. We’ve all had those moments when we’ve checked the fridge for the 1000th time, just in case we missed a good snack 5 minutes ago. What we don’t consider is the impact that continuously opening and closing the door might have on our power usage. Each time the fridge is opened we allow hot air in. This means the fridge then needs to use more power to cool everything down. If the snacking has got out of hand, and the fridge is looking empty, there is more space for hot air to fill. This means the fridge has to use even more power to compensate. Reduce the snack checking and keep your fridge full when you can.
- Assess your devices. It’s likely you now have more electrical items in your home to help you work. This can include extra screens, computers and laptops which drain power. Think about switching off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi when they are not in use, it’ a great way to cut a substantial amount of power the computer uses to search for these networks. It also helps to close any applications you’re not using to limit how much energy the device needs to stay powered up.
- Look for tax breaks. The ATO has created specific guidelines for people working from home as a result of COVID-19. The following site lists what you can claim back in expenses at tax time. This includes your electricity expenses associated with heating, cooling and lighting the area from which you are working, as well as power used for your computer and other devices. Knowing exactly what, and how much, you can claim back can help you prioritise what tips you implement first and ongoing. www.ato.gov.au/General/COVID-19/Support-for-individuals-and-employees/Employees-working-from-home/
These are times in which we all need to rally together. Jacana Energy are here for Territorians and understand these uncertain times may cause a lot of stress, especially around finances. We have reviewed our policies around debt and hardship and we’re committed to help our customers keep their lights on.
You can find all our COVID-19 updates here.