As any freelancer or work-from-home professional knows, you need to do all you can to maximise your profits and minimise your bills. Freelancing is precarious; you don’t want all of your revenue going on costs and not be able to afford to eat! Most of us don’t realise that there are measures we can take to reduce our costs through our home office environment.
Use an LED Lamp, not a Main Light
LEDs have always been cheaper to run, to buy and use less energy than regular lighting. You’d be surprised at how powerful LEDs can be for just a couple of watts per hour against light bulbs that run upwards of 80 watts for conventional bulbs or around 20-30 for energy saving. You don’t need to light your whole room when working, just a small concentrated light will do. You can maximise light by putting your LED next to a wall – it will reflect the light.
Use a Wifi Range Extender
This is probably one you have never considered. Most people use them near to dead zones so they can use the internet first thing in the morning or last thing at night. But if your home office is such a distance away from your router that the signal is sporadic or ropey, you can save money. When you have a dodgy signal, your device will waste energy searching for it and reconnecting. I’ve been using a wifi range extender for about a week now and I’ve noticed by laptop battery life go from roughly 2.5 hours in my office to around 3 hours on average. Fewer device charges means cost savings. The initial outlay and the power consumption will more than make up for that.
Used Time Settings to Charge Overnight
This only works if you’re on a power-saving plan with your energy supplier. I am and it’s going that way for most people now. Our flat has something called a smart meter which means our overnight electricity charge rate is around 1/3 the price it is during the day. Investing in electrical timers to come on and go off at specified times will ensure you wake up with fully-charged devices that cost a fraction of what it would have done during the day. Why waste money on electricity when you don’t have to?
Get a Laptop, not a Desktop
Desktops are still the preferred method for most people working on a device for a typical work day. That is what they are designed for, after all. They used to be the preferred model for energy saving too but that is no longer the case. Freelancers and other home office workers now need flexibility to work anywhere. That’s why laptops have surpassed desktops in energy efficiency. You’ll only need 2-3 charges per day in most cases. Compare that to a desktop which needs to be on all of the time and you have a massive potential power drain. If you don’t need a desktop, don’t get one.
But if you Must Use a Desktop…
Use a flat screen rather than an old style box monitor. They use around 1/3 of the energy. Most places don’t sell the large box monitors any more, but if you still have one in good working condition, it could be a false economy to hang on to it. Long-term, investing in an energy saving flat screen monitor could eventually save you the initial outlay of the cost of the monitor.
Look at Energy Performance when Buying New Devices
You’ll need a new laptop, tablet or smartphone eventually. When it comes to devices you’ll use every day, pay particular attention to the energy saving elements. Whether you buy over the internet or from your nearest electrical supply shop, in most cases they will advertise the energy rating as standard to help you make a more informed choice about your bill. Power is one of the biggest home office costs.