Saving Energy During a Pandemic

As working from home and schooling from home continues to be the norm, a side effect can be higher energy usage and bills. Having two, three, ten computers running, every light in the home plus increased pressure on the HVAC system can quickly add up. Here are a few tips to keep the energy usage down.

Use LED Lights
With an increased need for lighting, it is even more critical that the most energy efficient types of bulbs be used. LED bulbs are over 75% more efficient than standard bulbs. Stop and think how many and how long your lights are on during a day, then think about how much you can save if they were LEDs. While switching to LED bulbs is a huge savings, turning off lights is even better.

Location, Location, Location
Typically you hear this term in the real estate business, but it holds very true when working and schooling from home. If possible choose a location in your home that has plenty of natural light. This will allow you to turn off the lights as we mentioned above. Another consideration is with many families converting spaces into offices or schoolrooms, it is important to be strategic on placement. Make sure not to cover up HVAC vents or returns that would cause the system to have to work harder. Shared spaces can be difficult, especially if interactive meetings are taking place. If possible, having everyone in one room can save energy by only needing to condition and light one room rather that multiple rooms throughout the home.

Use Portable Fans
In many cases, all that is needed to keep the room comfortable is either a portable fan in the warmer months or a portable heater in the cooler months. These use a fraction of the electricity that your HVAC unit needs. Air King and Lasko offer a wide range of residential and light commercial options.

Turn Items Off
If you have children, then you have probably at one point in your life (or every 10 minutes) walked into an empty room that has every light in that room turned on. No matter how many times you tell them to turn the lights off when they leave the room, there it is – every light still turned on. For sanity sake, just accept the fact that your job as a parent is to follow them around and turn the lights off. Turing lights off however are just one way to keep the energy usage down. Turning off other items such as computer and monitors when not in use can have a positive effect also. Most electronics nowadays have some sort of energy savings mode (sleep mode) but even in these modes, they are still using energy. Turing electronics completely off when not in use is the best way to save. Another consideration is once the workday or school day is complete, turn everything off and get away from them. This will save energy and give your eyes and body a break. How many times have you or your children finished a full day of online school or work meetings just to leave the computer and go right to the TV to binge watch the new series. Try going for a walk or having a cup of coffee outside (making sure to turn the lights off before you leave).

Washing
Being home most of the day can lead to some habits that could be costing you in energy usage. Things like doing laundry can have a large effect. There might be the temptation to do a small load of laundry each day instead of waiting for a full load. We absolutely get it that doing laundry for most people is not on the top ten list of enjoyable activities in the home. Doing smaller loads throughout the week instead of one big laundry day might be preferred but it will more than likely come at a cost of using a noticeably more amount of energy. Air-drying clothes will save a significant amount of energy. It will also get you out of the house and away from the screen. If you turn off the lights when you leave, you now have hit on multiple energy saving tips with one activity! Washing dishes is similar to clothes. A dishwasher’s energy efficiency is predicated on running full loads. Avoiding the temptation of running the dishwasher after every meal will save energy.

For more tips on how to save energy within the home visit the ENERGY STAR® website at www.energystar.gov