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Energy Conservation Tips for the Home Office: Five Ideas That Will Save You Money

Jun 13, 2008
Your home office can be a huge source of wasted energy if you're not careful. With all of those electronic devices, it's easy to spend a lot on powering your office. If you're concerned about your energy bill and your carbon usage, it's important that you get your power situation under control. Fortunately, there are a few simple steps that you can use to make your office energy efficient.

The first step, if you haven't already done this already, is to change all the lighting in your home office from standard light bulbs to compact fluorescent bulbs. Most people do this throughout the house all at once. CFLs use less energy and last up to five times as long as regular bulbs, so it's worth the extra cost associated with them.

The biggest power usage in your office probably comes from your computer. If you're using a desktop model, it's important that you make the switch from a CRT monitor to an energy-saving LCD flat screen monitor as soon as possible. Although this can be expensive, you can find a good monitor for under $200. This switch will save you even more on energy costs.

You can also save energy (and money) by changing the way that you use your computer. If you are accustomed to leaving your computer on 24/7, you are setting yourself up for having an energy usage problem in your office. You need to shut down your computer each day when you are done using it. If you pop off and on the computer several times per day, as many people do, you should set up your computer's automatic timing so that it goes into sleep mode after 10 minutes of inactivity. This way your computer will still be available, but it won't be using so much power all the time.

Speaking of powering down, make it a habit to turn off your printer, fax machine or scanner when they aren't in use. If you leave them on all the time, they are draining power when you don't need them. Many machines and appliances will still draw power from the source, even when they are turned off. Put your office equipment on a power strip, so that you can switch off the electricity to all appliances at once. These devices don't take that long to power up and it's just easier to get them up and running when you need them instead of leaving them on all of the time.

If you're really serious about energy consumption, you could hire a professional energy auditor to come and evaluate your office for energy issues. However, there's a new device available called Kill-A-Watt that can help you do the same thing for much less money. The Kill-A-Watt device plugs into the wall, and then you plug your power strips and electronics into the device. The device will track how much energy is being used by each electronic so you know where you can cut back and how much you are actually using. For about $40, it's are an excellent example of spending a little to save a lot.

With a few purchases and a few changes in your habits, your office can be energy efficient. It's important that you not let the trend stop here. Once you've learned the basics of energy efficiency, take this habit to the rest of your house and you'll be surprised with a lower energy bill.
About the Author
Jamie Jefferson writes for Momscape.com and Susies-Coupons.com, where she shares office supplies coupons as well as the latest discounts on Kill-a-Watt monitors.
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