Fluctuating temperatures mean one thing: unpredictable utility bills. Thanks to COVID-19, we’re spending more time indoors than ever, particularly those of us working from home (WFH). We may not be able to control our office situation, but we can reimagine where we get our energy and how we use it. With these five easy tips, we can gain long-term savings while WFH:
1. Set it and forget it. Remember the days of bundling up in preparation for work? No more. The U.S. Department of Energy recommends setting the thermostat at 78 in warmer months and 68 in cooler ones. Ceiling fans can help offset temperatures by at least four degrees, but should be turned off when not in use. For even less hassle, use a programmable thermostat.
2. Be green. Conduct a home energy audit and opt for energy-efficiency lighting, appliances and fixtures where possible. Replace traditional light bulbs with longer-lasting LEDs and properly seal windows, doors, vents, ducts and other areas where air is prone to escape. Consider adding insulation to the attic to further reduce energy costs.
3. Go natural. Goodbye, harsh fluorescent office lighting. Exposure to natural sunlight is a proven mood booster and an easy way to save on electricity costs. Use blinds in the summer to keep spaces cooler and throw curtains open in the winter for additional workspace illumination.
4. Unplug. Take the opportunity to disconnect from the demands of work by turning off devices that passively use energy. Invest in smart or advanced power strips, so you can close your computer at the end of the day without any worries about unforeseen waste.
5. Consider solar. If you can afford your electric bill, you can afford solar. Take advantage of the current 26% federal Investment Tax Credit and available financing to offset the upfront investment costs and achieve long-term energy independence. With free mobile apps, you can even monitor your energy usage in real-time to keep costs as low as possible.
Rachel Zimmerman is a marketing associate with Seal Solar, a solar energy solutions firm that brings together the latest technology and a local certified team to help Arkansans control rising energy costs and save money.