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Working from home and energy use

Heating and cooling

  • Around 40% of home energy use can go on heating and/or cooling.
  • Shut doors to unused areas. Only heat or cool the rooms you’re using.. Set your heating between 18°C and 20°C and your cooling between 25°C and 27°C.
  • For every degree you increase heating and cooling, you increase energy use between 5% and 10%.
  • Dress comfortably. You may need to look professional from the waist up for virtual meetings, but working from home means you can dress for the season.

Computers

  • Close any applications you’re not using.
  • Don’t use active or animated screensavers.
  • Ensure air vents on computer towers and laptops are kept clear and away from objects. Excess heat makes your computer work harder and can lead to system failures.
  • If purchasing new monitors, look for the Energy Rating Label. The more stars the better.
  • Laptops, ultrabooks and notebooks use less energy than desktop computers and can be battery-operated for extended periods.
  • Reduce screen brightness to the lowest setting that’s comfortable for your eyes.
  • Set your monitor to switch off/sleep after 10 minutes of inactivity.
  • Switch off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi when you’re not using them as they use a substantial amount of power by constantly searching for a signal.
  • Switch off when you’ve finished using your device, or set a timer.
  • Unplug any USB devices (like mice, keyboards, speakers and flash drives) when not in use.
  • Put the laptop charger on a powerboard that can be switched off, or turns off automatically. The charger draws power continuously, even when the laptop is not plugged into the adapter.

Mobile phones

  • Delete unwanted applications. The more applications your smartphone has, the faster the power will drain.
  • Reduce screen brightness and turn off live (animated) wallpapers to reduce battery drain.
  • Set your notification alerts to check at 30 minute intervals (or longer) and close applications when you don’t need them. This can also make a big difference to your data usage.
  • Shorten the amount of time for the screen to turn off automatically—try 30 seconds.
  • Switch off Bluetooth, GPS and Wi-Fi connections when not in use as they use a substantial amount of power by constantly searching for signal.
  • Switch off chargers at the wall once charging is complete, and avoid charging overnight if you can. 
  • Switch to aeroplane mode where applicable.

Office equipment

  • ‘Think before you print’ and opt for a printer that prints on both sides of the paper—saving both time and resources.
  • Turn off your printer, copier, scanner and multi-function devices when not in use.