Working from home presents a unique set of benefits and challenges. As you make the shift from going into the office to working remotely, make sure you consider the role of energy efficiency and how green actions can help reduce your carbon footprint.
5 Green Tips That Are Simple to Follow
Remote working has been gaining steam for the better part of two decades. But it’s exploded over just the past 18 past months. And even when we enter into a post-pandemic world, it’s expected that working from home will be more popular than ever before.
Research shows that 80 percent of company leaders plan to allow employees to work from home at least part-time after the pandemic, while 47 percent will allow them to work remotely on a full-time basis.
In total, 1 in 4 working-class Americans – roughly 39 million – will work from home this year. An additional 13 to 27 million workers will be added to that tally in the coming years.
In other words, remote working is no longer a niche – it’s becoming the norm. And if we want to get serious about reducing energy consumption and protecting the environment, we just get serious about implementing sustainable practices when working from home.
If you’ll be working remotely this year, here are several green tips you can implement with ease:
- Shrink Your Footprint
The first step is to shrink your footprint as much as possible. Yes, your carbon footprint – but also your individual footprint within your house. In other words, you want to use as little of your house as possible during the workday. Otherwise, you’ll end up driving your energy usage through the roof.
Pick your home office and try your best to keep all of your energy consumption contained within that room. This means you don’t need to heat or cool the entire house. Studies suggest you can save up to 6 percent on your energy bill by simply turning the thermostat down by one degree. We recommend turning the thermostat up or down by three to five degrees and then using a space heater or fan in your office to help you stay comfortable.
After the workday, you can adjust the thermostat in the rest of the home. (Better yet, get a smart thermostat, and you can save as much as 23 percent on your energy bill each month.)
- Switch to LED Lighting
Now that you’re working from home, you’ll be using a lot more lights on a daily basis. And if you’re still using traditional incandescent light bulbs, now’s the time to make the switch to energy efficient LEDs and/or compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs).
LEDs and CFLs typically use 25 to 80 percent less energy than the incandescent bulbs most people are accustomed to using. Best of all, they last for several years, rather than several months. Plus, with increased control over color and hue, it’s extremely easy to customize your lighting for optimum productivity.
- Eliminate Unnecessary Commutes
From an environmental perspective, one of the biggest benefits of the work-from-home movement is the reduction in cars on the road. Make sure you maximize this perk by doing as much as you can to eliminate unnecessary commutes during the week.
Professional development courses and meetings should be held virtually whenever possible. For example, if you’re an accountant who is taking the CPA exam, there’s no need to take a classroom-based course. Instead, take an online review course from home and avoid the commute.
- Prep Your Meals for the Week
This might seem like a silly suggestion, but it’s actually really effective. By prepping your meals for the week, you’re not only saving time and money, but you’re also reducing your energy consumption by cutting down on the amount of time you use appliances (like the oven). Over the course of a couple of weeks, these energy savings can really add up.
- Unplug Unnecessary Devices
Did you know that household electronics account for as much as 25 percent of all energy usage in the home? And here’s the frustrating part: Most of these electronics aren’t used during 90 percent of the day. To save energy, unplug devices when not in use.
Do Your Part
As a remote worker, you have more control over your day-to-day life than ever before. Use this freedom and flexibility to make smart decisions. From your energy consumption and driving habits to meal prepping and technology use, there are plenty of smart, eco-friendly decisions to be made!