In the past 20 years, the proportion of Australians working from home has increased from 20 to 30 per cent. That means roughly 3.5 million of us may be wrangling bigger home energy bills than our office-bound colleagues.
There are countless websites offering tips on how to reduce your energy usage, from installing the correct roof insulation to setting your fridge at the optimal temperature.
But if you’re working at home and running multiple electronic devices, lights and heaters or air-conditioning, how do you keep your energy bills under control?
We’ve created a list of energy-saving tips for the home worker.
Set the thermostat or turn off the heater altogether
Setting your thermostat between 18 and 20 degrees in winter will keep your home at a constant and comfortable temperature. Every degree above 20 can add as much as 10 per cent to your heating bill. Turn off heaters when they aren’t needed, or when you leave the house.
Turn off standby mode off
Ever noticed the little light that stays on at the bottom of your monitor, even when you’ve turned your computer off? That means the device is in standby mode and is still using energy. Turn off the switch at the wall to ensure power isn’t being drained.
Use energy-efficient light bulbs and lamps
Energy-efficient light bulbs both save power and last longer. If you don't need bright lighting to do your work, try using a desk lamp to help reduce your energy bills.
Heat you and your work space, not your whole house
Heating your whole house every day will see your energy bills soar. To lessen the impact, wear layered clothing and think about only heating the space you’re working in. Draping a blanket over your legs or throwing on an extra jumper will keep you cosy.
Use energy-efficient equipment
Buy computers and monitors that comply with Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS), and choose a printer that comes with no/low standby mode. Consider using a laptop instead of a desktop computer. They use as much as 80 per cent less energy because they're designed to run without a constant power source.
Look for tax breaks
Depending on what type of work you do, a percentage of your energy bill may be tax deductible. Do your research and talk to your accountant to find out what you're entitled to.
Go to the local cafe or library
If you only require a laptop and Wi-Fi to do your job, why not head down to the local cafe or library to work? Not only will it get you out of the house and mix up your routine, you'll also save on your energy bill because you won’t be using any power at all.
Shop around for the best energy deal
There are loads of energy providers in Victoria, and most will offer you a great deal if you’re looking at switching. If you feel you're paying too much for energy, don’t be afraid to shop around.
Want to find a great deal and save on your energy bills?
RACV’s Energy Compare can save you time and money by independently comparing the best energy rates in your postcode. Go to racv.com.au/energycompare