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All your work-from-home energy efficiency questions answered

“Do I need to unplug my laptop at night?”

All your work-from-home energy efficiency questions answered

If your dining room table looks like this, chances are you’ve been working from home. And that means that you likely have more electronics around than usual. Here’s your guide to making sure you’re saving energy while social distancing. You can click here to see how we are actively monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation and to see the measures that are in place to ensure we continue to serve our customers in a way that is safe for both customers and our employees.

Don’t worry about unplugging everything.

Thanks to advances in technology, phantom energy – or energy your devices might be consuming even when not in use – isn’t as big of a deal as it used to be.

A recent study at the Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory in California found that the energy saved from unplugging some devices wouldn’t amount to enough to make it worth the hassle. Instead, just make sure to shut your computer down when you’re done working for the day and save the step of unplugging it. Save money immediately with rebates and then save even more over time through reduced energy costs. See your rebate options here.

But do unplug some things

Some office equipment is worth unplugging when not in use including printers, shredders and scanners. These devices don’t need to be charged, and chances are you don’t use them very frequently anyway. If you like to unwind with Esports or video games, make sure your game systems are unplugged or set to energy efficiency mode when head back to work. If you’re working out from home, consider unplugging your exercise equipment when not in use. Learn more about how to save money with your appliances.

Update your programmable thermostat

According to the Department of Energy, you can save an estimated 10 percent a year on heating and cooling costs by using a programmable thermostat. If your schedule usually meant that your home was empty for most of the day, you likely had your programmable thermostat set to be cooler during your working hours and then warmer when you came home in the evening. Now that your routine has changed, update your thermostat to be a comfortable temperature throughout the day, and then a little cooler at night while everyone is sleeping. Around 68 degrees is a good temperature to save energy and stay comfortable during waking hours. Check out these tips that can help you save every month of year.

Let some sunshine in

Sure, you can’t recap last night’s American Idol episode with Karen from the tax department while you get your morning coffee anymore. But you can do some things to brighten your mood and save energy. Open all the curtains in your home every morning. The natural light will boost your mood, let the sun warm up your rooms a little, and allow you to turn out some lights. Saving energy around your home or workplace can be simple, but sometimes it's hard to know where to start. Click here for more tips that can help you prioritize where to spend your time and effort to make a big impact. 

Bonus tips

While working from home, make sure you’re still taking care of your health and wellness.

Find a comfortable spot to work, but resist the urge to work from the couch. Our ergonomics experts recommend finding a table and chair that allow your elbows to be at a 90-degree angle with your shoulders relaxed. Kitchen tables are typically higher than you want, but a card table usually sits a little lower. If you prefer to stand, get creative and use your ironing board, or find other sturdy surfaces in your home that you can elevate with books or boxes.

Set a timer to get up and stretch every hour and keep your kids’ homeschool PE and recess activities away from your electronic devices (not that we’ve learned this the hard way or anything).

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