This year has brought profound changes in the way we work and study - none moreso than the shift to working from home.
Working from home offers us greater flexibility, but can increase our home energy usage and costs so we've put together some tips to help you make carbon, energy and cost savings while working from home.
Sleep during lunch
If you're using your own equipment, change the settings so your computer puts itself to sleep after, at most, 30 minutes of inactivity. You don't want to worry about wasted energy while enjoying a break.
“No lighty, no likey!”
At the end of the work day, or after any use of your electronics, remember to switch off your equipment fully. If there are lights left on in your work area, it means something is on standby so remember to switch off them all. You can save around £35 a year just by remembering to turn your appliances off standby mode, and this process can also provide a clear mental signpost that the work day has finished to support your work-life balance.
Set your thermostat 1°c lower
This simple change can save £60 and 320kg of carbon emissions every year, it's almost too easy! Also, if you can, run your thermostat on a timer; Ensure it switches off when you are sleeping, cooking or at any other time when you don’t need it to save money and energy.
Love your layers
Did you know over half of fuel bill prices go towards providing heating and hot water? If it’s getting a bit chilly, you could try putting on an extra layer before putting the heating on. Don a jumper, snuggle up under a cosy winter duvet or go old school with a pair of long johns!
Get to know your radiators
Maximise the efficiency of your central heating system by bleeding your radiators and adjusting your settings. Top tip: the numbers on the valve (usually 1-5) don't have an impact on how hot the radiator is or how fast the room will heat up but rather limit how hot the room will be allowed to get. Rooms with little to no use are best set to one (or the snowflake symbol) to reduce the amount of gas used in the system. A programmer and thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) can allow you to set the temperature for each area of your home and save even more energy and money. It may seem a strange investment but it’ll be worth it when you’re nicely cosy and saving money!
A good thing to note is that if you’re only using one room in a house during the day, consider purchasing an electric convention heater. Though not as cost effective as central heating, they create savings by heating only one room rather than an entire house.
Keep the heat in
Up to a third of homes' heat can be lost to draughty windows and doors. Feel around the edge of your windows and external doors and if you feel a cold draught, get some sticky back draught excluders to stop the wastage. At the same time, take advantage of the sunlight; If it’s sunny, try keeping your curtains and blinds open and then close them after sundown. You’ll gain a lot of heat during the day and will keep it in at night, without the need for any additional heating.
Exercise keeps you warm, so try to get in as many steps or dance moves as possible during your working day, and enjoy a nice warm beverage to finish off.
Claim tax relief for work expenses
If you're working from home due to Covid-19, you might be eligible to claim for increased home costs. HMRC will consider claims from employees for things to do with your work, including the extra cost of gas and electricity for your work area.
Whichever way you choose to work, saving energy can help you save costs, time and stress. If you have any questions or want more ideas, check out the Energy Saving Trust or contact the Sustainability Team at [email protected].