Working from home, even on a temporary basis, may increase your energy use. It means that you're spending more time using a computer, lights and other appliances at home instead of in your workplace. But by improving the energy efficiency of your home office equipment, you can save on energy costs without hampering your productivity.
Make sure computers and other office equipment are turned off when they're not in use for an extended period.
Many electronic devices continue to use standby power even after they're turned off. Connect your office equipment to an advanced power strip, which will automatically shut off power to unused devices.
Set office equipment, such as printers and scanners, to automatically switch to sleep mode when not in use. In addition to saving energy, the equipment will stay cooler, which will help to extend its useful life.
Use a laptop computer instead of a desktop. Laptops use less than one-third the energy of a typical desktop computer.
Adjust the thermostat to the unoccupied setting. This avoids wasting energy by conditioning the entire house while you're occupying only a small portion of it. Consider using a ceiling fan to maintain comfort.
Use task lighting with energy-efficient lamps. A desk lamp uses less energy than whole-room lighting.
When purchasing new office equipment, make sure it's ENERGY STAR® qualified. ENERGY STAR-certified products use less energy than standard models. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, if every home office product purchased in the U.S. were ENERGY STAR qualified, Americans would save an estimated $75 million a year in energy costs.
SUMMER Stay cool this summer and save MONEY!
No-Cost Summer Energy-Savings Ideas
Set thermostat to 78-degrees or higher.
Close blinds and drapes to keep the sun from warming your home.
Change the direction of your ceiling fan's paddles. They should circulate air downward. A ceiling fan can make a room feel 6 or 7 degrees cooler. Run fans only when people are in the room.
Plant trees on the south and west sides of your home to provide shade and reduce cooling costs.
Going on vacation? Unplug all electrical appliances and set the thermostat to 80 degrees or more.
Use toaster ovens, crockpots and microwaves. They use less energy than the stove or oven.
You’ll save money anytime you can increase the temperature on your thermostat and cause the unit not to run. The old myth that says you will spend more energy bringing the temperature back down than you would have spent just leaving the thermostat alone is just that, a myth.
The Department of Energy (DOE) recommends that you set the thermostat no lower than 78⚬ F when you are home and need cooling. Set your thermostat at as high a temperature as comfortably possible. The smaller the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be since the unit will not need to run as frequently. Avoid setting your thermostat at a colder setting than normal when you turn on your air conditioner. It will not cool your home any faster and could result in higher electric bills. Assuming that your air conditioner is properly sized and operates on a 20-degree differential (the difference between the temperature inside and outside the home), an AC system would be operating continually if the thermostat was set at 78⚬ F when the outside temperature is at 98⚬ F or more. During summer months in Arizona, we often experience multiple days with temperatures at 100⚬ F or higher. If you’re not at home during the day, set your thermostat higher to stay within the 20-degree differential. Consider a programmable thermostat so that you control how often and when the air conditioner operates.
The more frequently your AC cycles on and off, the more energy you use. The goal is to keep the thermostat set at a temperature that is comfortable for you, but high enough that the system doesn’t cycle on and off too frequently. If the temperatures outside continue to increase, but you are not also increasing your thermostat, and the temperature differential between the outside and inside temperatures become larger, the AC unit will cycle on more frequently and result in higher energy usage and larger electric bills. Also note that if you have a second refrigerator or freezer that is in unconditioned air (porch, garage, etc.), those units will also work harder to maintain the internal temperature while the outside temperatures continue to rise, resulting in more consumption and higher energy costs. While you might not do anything different from day-to-day or week-to-week, the outside temperatures do play a big part in your energy consumption.
Never having to change your filters is unusual, especially with Arizona’s fine dust. If you’re using very inexpensive filters, they may be too loose to catch any fine dust. This allows the dust to accumulate on the unit’s evaporator coil, which could cause problems later. You might consider the 1-inch pleated filter. A more expensive filter might be too restrictive and could cause problems for your AC unit.
Extreme heat conditions result in an AC unit that runs more frequently in an attempt to bring down the interior temperatures of your home. The air filters inside the unit filter more dust and debris, clogging more quickly than normal. The fan on the exterior unit accumulates debris faster as it constantly revolves. The DOE recommends that you replace the inside filter at least once a month.
Air conditioners perform two basic functions: heat removal and moisture removal. Even in Arizona, we have a monsoon season with higher-than-normal humidity levels. The lower the humidity, the more comfortable you will feel at a given temperature. As warm indoor air is drawn up through the filter, it passes over a very cold coil whereby the heat and moisture are removed. If you’ve ever noticed a PVC pipe running off your roof that drips water, that is the moisture removed from your home. When the humidity is high, it makes sense that the AC system is working harder to keep your home cool. If you have an older, inefficient or wrong-sized system, it may not handle the job and you may end up feeling warmer than it actually is because the air is holding extra moisture that isn’t properly removed. If your AC system is working longer and harder, this can add wear to the unit and can result in higher utility bills.
Because heat rises and extra heat gain exists on the second floor, the upper level will likely require more cooling than the lower level. To maintain a constant temperature in your home, set each thermostat at the same temperature. However, if you want to reduce energy costs, you can maintain a comfortable temperature on the floor you are occupying. If you’re not using the upstairs, set the second-floor thermostat a couple of degrees higher. Reverse the process at night when you’re upstairs.
Sign up for SmartHub. This application provides convenient account access to Usage Explorer, giving you a detailed look at your past and current usage, all in one place. You can view your usage and weather trends by month, or if available, by day. Along with daily consumption, you can see the high, low and average temperatures with an option to view the daily cost. Many TRICO members are utilizing this tool in an effort to reduce their power bills.
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