As many of us settle into a routine of working from home, companies have never been better prepared to take advantage of the technology now available to meet these new demands.
However, this greater flexibility in how we are working comes with drawbacks. To stay connected with our colleagues, remote working requires greater usage of electricity and energy, between plugging in our machines, using appliances more often, and the temptation for regular trips to the coffee machine or boiling water for a cup of tea.
This means we are using far more energy without realizing it, and in turn seeing our electricity bills rise. But there are some simple tips and tricks you can implement into your daily work at home routine that will help you use energy more efficiently and save money on your electricity bills in the process.
Here are some of the things experts at Schneider Electric recommend that will help you work sustainably from home.
• Use smart power strips: These allow you to plug in different devices into outlets to allow for greater energy efficiency. Some outlets are for devices that need to stay on all the time, like a DVR, while others work for items that go into standby mode or use energy, but don't need to be on. When you shut off a device or disconnect your device from its charger, the power strip senses it and will shut off all power to the device. A 2015 study by UL Environment determined that a smart power strip could curb wasted power by 26 percent in just one night of use.
• Unplug any unnecessary devices: One of the pitfalls of working from home is all the potential distractions around your home that are tempting you to stray from your work duties. The solution? Simply unplug it so it no longer becomes a distraction. Not only will this ensure you stay focused on the task at hand but devices such as televisions, game consoles or extra monitors will no longer waste energy.
• Avoid heavy use of electronics during peak load hours: According to the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) peak electricity usage in Dubai is 12 to 6pm in summer. By limiting the use of non-essential appliances during these peak-load times electricity can be provided more efficiently. This can be done by adjusting the Air Conditioning to 24C and avoiding the use of power-hungry appliances such as irons, washing machines, dryers and dishwashers during peak hours.
• Invest in connected home technologies: Smart home technologies provide an integrated energy management system for the home through a smartphone app. These solutions allow you to control lighting, shutters and heating as well as manage energy levels to identify where electricity is being wasted and adjust power use for greater efficiency.
• Turn on your electric water heater 15 minutes before you want to have a shower or bath, and turn it off once you’re done. And consider putting in a solar water heater on your roof. It’ll save you a good deal of money.
• Use natural light: We are blessed with an abundance of sunlight in the UAE, so why not make the most of it to conserve energy and reduce our energy bills? Set up your temporary office in the room with the most light and throw open the curtains to let in as much as possible. This will mean energy is not wasted to power desk lamps or overhead lights.
For many working from home will be a new experience but one that we will become acclimatized to over time. Technology allows us to work effectively no matter where we are. As we develop new routines to help us be more effective while working remotely, we should also become more mindful towards our household energy use. By making a few simple changes to our behavior and improving our awareness about energy consumption we will not only use electricity more efficiently but also save money on our bills.