Cut energy costs in your home office

A home office is something that features in many properties, but when was the last time you thought carefully about how much energy it might be using? After all, when you're sitting sending emails or printing documents, it's more than likely you're not thinking too much about the hit your electricity bills have taken.

If you often find yourself working from home, then we've put together a few top tips that could leave your bank balance looking a little healthier at the end of the year.

1. Choose energy efficient equipment

The good news is that office equipment has become increasingly more efficient over the years, which should mean your bills take less of a hit. Australia uses energy rating labels, which legally have to be applied to a range of devices, including computer monitors.

A rating of between one and ten stars is applied - the more stars a product has, the more efficient it will be. You'll also find some products display the Energy Star label - it's estimated that computers with this use as much as 65 per cent less energy than those without.

2. Avoid standby mode

Printers, computers and other items of office equipment can easily be left in standby mode. While this might seem like it's saving you time, it certainly isn't doing your electricity bills much good.

Switching appliances off completely - or at the wall - can save dollars per year. Is it really any more effort to do this than revert to standby?

3. Don't use screensavers

A screensaver will use more energy than you might first realise, so don't be tempted to use them as a substitute for switching your computer off.

If you're using a PC, the general recommendation is that the monitor should be switched off if it's not going to be used for 20 minutes or more. Turn both this and the computer tower off if your PC will be inactive for at least two hours.

4. Use email

Email is possibly the most efficient way of sending messages - avoid faxes and post wherever possible. This means you don't have to use your printer, or waste paper in the process.

5. Set up sleep mode

There are always times when we step away from our desks for longer than anticipated, which is where sleep mode can come in handy.

It will shut your computer down when it's been inactive for a certain period of time. This means that the next time you need to answer a call or a meeting overruns, you're not using more energy in your home office than you'd like.

Posted by Richard West