Watt's Happening

Keep energy costs low while working or learning from home

As we begin 2021, many families across Florida will have spent nearly a year working from their homes. Due to ongoing pandemic-related precautions, more companies are expanding policies that will have employees working from home indefinitely. Despite these changes, how many people have given real thought to how to make their home offices as energy efficient as possible? Have you?

Whether you’re working from home or have kids doing virtual school, this month’s Watt’s Happening blog is for you! Read on to learn how you can fight big bills by saving energy on your electronics, lighting and cooling costs.

A desk setup that works for you

When working from home or taking classes online, consider switching to a laptop as opposed to using a desktop computer. Laptops use up to 80% less energy than desktops, which can add up to major savings as we spend more hours at home in front of our screens.  Consider upgrading your desk set up with a mouse designed for maximum comfort and efficiency and a wireless keyboard – you’ll hardly notice it’s a laptop you’re working on.

Another way to save is to make sure your electronics are plugged into smart power strips. This can help avoid wasting “phantom” or “vampire” energy, which is the trickle of energy still used by anything plugged into an outlet even if the item is off.

Whether you are using a computer or a laptop in your office setup, make sure to optimize your sleep mode settings for your work style. You may be able to save $15 a year per computer by making sure this feature is turned on.

Investing in new equipment to spruce up the desk at home? Whether it’s a printer, monitor, or even a new speaker, look for the ENERGY STAR® label to ensure you’re choosing an efficient product.

Brighten your space and lighten your bill

When it comes to lighting a home office or desk for schoolwork, consider the amount of natural light. Not only does this save energy by taking advantage of the sun versus switching on lightbulbs, but natural light in an office has been found to improve health and wellness. However, while natural light in the office space can help cut down on lighting costs, be sure to keep blinds drawn in other areas of the home to keep your A/C from working overtime.

While a beautiful window with natural light streaming in is ideal, for those rainy days or interior rooms there will always be a need for lightbulbs. Swap incandescent bulbs for LEDs, which last longer and use 80 to 90% less energy when compared to conventional light bulbs.

“Who turned down the A/C?”

The question asked in homes across the state with so many people home for more hours than usual. As we spend increased time in the home for work and school, our air conditioning (A/C) units are likely working harder and for longer. To help save on cooling costs — often the largest factor of your energy bill — consider these tips to keep your home comfortable:

  • Raise the temperature a few degrees and use a portable or ceiling fan in the room where you’re working, as each degree you raise the A/C can save about 5% on monthly cooling costs.
  • Keep window shades and blinds closed in the areas of the home where nobody is working.
  • Keep your A/C filters fresh; change or clean them about once a month.

If you have an A/C unit older than 10 years, it might be time to consider a new one. Save $150 on a new A/C with FPL’s instant rebate. A new system will help keep your home cool and can help you save money on your energy bill year after year.

Home school savings

These tips aren’t just for the adults! If you have children spending more time at home doing virtual school, these tips can help save on their home school setup as well.

While some are heading back to the office, there are still plenty of people planning to continue working, and learning, from home. With these tips, you can make the most of your home office or school arrangement without going overboard on energy usage.

Looking for more ways to save? Find blogs with all kinds of information on the Watt’s Happening home page, and activate your free Energy Manager today to get customized tips on how you can save even more on your energy bill.