Throughout the past year, many of us here in London have been working out of and spending most of our time at home. Our air conditioners were running a lot more in the summer and this past winter the furnaces were set for warmer temperatures during the day since we were home more. In fact, EarthWatch.org reports that the average household used 23% more energy during summer 2020, than in previous summers.
Working from home was a growing trend before COVID hit, since then though, many offices were forced to set up remote work stations for their staff; with the investment made, employers are more likely to continue with remote employees if it saves them office space, rent and/or utilities. This guide will help everyone make their home more energy-efficient, whether you’re working or not.
- MAKE THE MOST OUT OF YOUR A/C
I think every office I have worked in has been cold; uncomfortably cold. A common reason for this is to help extend the life of computers, servers, and other technology. Your house doesn’t need to be that cold. It’s estimated that air conditioning accounts for 50%-60% of our households’ electric use during the summer. Raising the temperature of your thermostat by two degrees will save about 15% off your energy bill.
If you are working from home and stay in the same room the entire time, such as a home office or bedroom, then you can save even more by installing a ceiling fan or bringing in an oscillating fan. This keeps you cooler while you raise the temperature on the thermostat again.
- A BETTER WAY TO WASH YOUR CLOTHES
Heating water is about 14% of your total electric bill. That means washing your clothes in cold water every week, along with your sheets can save you a lot of money.
To continue saving while doing laundry, consider hanging it outside to dry. There was a time when it was illegal here in London to hang your clothes out, thankfully they recognized the energy savings and our ability to reduce our carbon footprint increases drastically by once again permitting this natural practice. Being able to save about 5% of your electric bill during the summer by not using your electric dryer is a nice bonus. Additionally, the dryer heats up your home, so eliminating its use in the summer is good for your air conditioner as well as making your home more energy-efficient.
- SWITCH TO LED BULBS
The reason LED bulbs have taken over the market is because families, not just businesses, started to see their savings. Most households make these improvements gradually when an incandescent bulb burns out; see that as your opportunity to install an LED bulb. They’re about six times more efficient and last years’ longer.
As an example, if you had a room with four 60 watt incandescent lights, and used that room for eight hours a day… then switched to LED bulbs, you would save about $150 a year, from just that one room.
- UPDATE YOUR WINDOWS
Installing new vinyl windows will help you save on your energy bill in more than one way. Air leakage is greatly reduced from using a quality window that’s insulated. Preventing the leakage will lower your air conditioner and furnace costs, as well as extending the life of each appliance. Double-paned windows make a huge difference here. Being able to open your windows for some air flow instead of turning on a fan or your air conditioner leads to additional savings and continues to make your home more energy-efficient.