Go Green: Energy Saving Tips for the Home and Office

Winter is coming, and that means the season of high energy bills is upon us. I know I don’t have money to waste, especially as I start thinking about holiday shopping, and I’m sure you don’t, either. There are some things we can do, though, to give ourselves the gift of lower power bills. For that matter, taking steps to save energy can save our employers money, too, and that might help your odds of getting a holiday bonus this year! Here are some good habits to get into and steps to take now to help cut energy costs as the cold weather sets in.

Lights Out

First off, it’s always a good idea to turn the lights off when you’re the last one out of a room, regardless of whether you’re at home or the office. After all, does the break room light really need to be on all the time when it’s not lunch time? And that little reading lamp you keep on your desk certainly doesn’t need to be on when you’re not sitting there using it. When you can’t turn the lights off, save energy by swapping them out: Take out that lamp’s incandescent bulb and replace it with an eco-friendly LED one, and encourage your employer to invest in more efficient bulbs for around the office.

Turn Down the Heat

I know this tip hardly applies in most offices: It always seems like the thermostat is set plenty low in most commercial buildings I’ve been in! In fact, I have friends who keep blankets and space heaters at their desks. But in general, keeping the thermostat set a couple of degrees cooler can save a lot of money, so this is a good tip to take advantage of at home, at least, where you have more control over the thermostat. Keep it at 68 degrees or lower and you’ll save a bundle!

Make Appliances More Efficient

At home or at the office, Energy Star-rated appliances are the way to go. That includes everything from refrigerators to dishwashers to computers: Either buy energy-efficient appliances for your home or encourage your employer to buy them for the office. In addition, check out the power-saving features of your home or office computer. You can usually set them to go to sleep, power down, or just turn off the monitor after a period of inactivity, so when you’ve stepped away from your desk, your computer won’t keep running up the power bill. And did you know that devices can even keep sucking up small amounts of power while they’re plugged in, even if they’re switched off? To save the most energy, make sure to unplug things like cell phone and laptop chargers once they’re finished doing their job.

These are just a few things you can do to help cut down on those painfully high winter energy bills. The money you save at home could be better spent on things like holiday travel and presents for the kids – and who knows, if your employer saves enough on their energy costs thanks to your efforts, you might even get a raise!