Announcement: Energy Saving Devices for the Home Office

Most office equipment, both in the home and business is left on 24 hours a day. Establishing ways to save energy in the home office is important for energy efficiency and reducing consumption, but at the same time you want to maximize the efficiency of your time. The reason we leave our computers and auxiliary devices on all the time is because it’s time consuming to turn them on and off, especially if they must warm up before use. Any system you set up to reduce your consumption should also maintain your time-savings.

Computers Running Up Your Electricity Bill?

Computers left on all the time can use thousands of kWh/year. Additional devices such as printers add to this number. The potential savings in an efficiently set up home office are huge. In addition, electronics draw electricity even when they’re not in use. Standby power, from printers, copiers, chargers, and appliances, is a hidden but wasteful use of home electricity.

Let's talk about some different energy saving products that can help identify and combat the wasteful use of electricity in your home office.

Perform an Energy Audit of Your Home Office

Start off by doing an energy audit of your home office equipment. Everything that’s plugged in to a socket, including battery and phone chargers, should be considered. A Kill a Watt device can measure the energy sucking output of your plug-ins for at least 24 hours to identify which devices are using the most electricity. The longer you measure the output, the more standby power is included. Remember, plug-ins suck energy even when they’re not in use.

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Purchase Equipment That Is EnergyStar Certified

To maximize your computer’s efficiency, you can start by purchasing electronics certified by EnergyStar. Efficient computers use power management to decrease energy use while you’re working and to switch into sleep and idle modes more quickly. You can mimic efficient power management on your existing computer by adjusting the sleep and idle modes to their lowest settings.

Energy star equipment is certified by the EPA to be up to 70% more efficient than standard models. Replacing any old or inefficient equipment can reduce your energy consumption, and may qualify you for rebates or tax breaks. Just remember to responsibly recycle your old equipment!

Use a Power Strip To Eliminate Standby Power Usage

Auxiliary computer equipment, such as scanners, printers, and copiers, are generally on standby most of the time. They use small amounts of electricity to stay in standby mode, which can be wasteful over time. Smart power strips, such as the Mini Power Minder or the Wattstopper, are set up to deal with this problem by offering a main and a secondary electrical line. The computer is plugged in to the main line, which continuously receives electricity, while the printers and scanners are plugged in to the secondary line, which has a separate on/off switch to manually power up.

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Power strips with on/off switches can also be used for chargers. They offer the time-saving option of keeping your chargers plugged in and ready for use, but they eliminate the standby power problem by cutting off electrical power to the devices when turned off. Most equipment, from home entertainment systems to small kitchen appliances, can be plugged in to a smart power strip to reduce standby power drain in your home.

Chargers have another option – solar. Since they’re needed for brief, continuous periods, it’s possible to charge them with small solar panels, such as the Sunny Flower Solar Charger. You set the device in the sun, and it keeps the battery charged and ready when your cell phone or video camera needs some juice.

Setting up an efficient home office takes planning, organization, and some upfront costs for various energy saving devices, but after the initial set-up, your office should run cooler, longer, and more efficient than ever.

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