Energy Saving Tips: Working From Home

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Blue laptop next to an electricity bill being cut by scissors

With many of us now working and studying from home, we might have noticed some savings on our daily commutes, from fuel and packed lunches, to take-away coffees and bus fares it goes without saying that there are a lot of savings to be made. Despite this, spending more time at home can see our home energy costs rise, particularly during the dark, cold Irish winters, and occasional hot summer days! Follow our energy saving tips guide to learn how you can be more energy efficient while working from home and not lose all those savings.

Home Office: Save Money While You Earn It

Working and studying from home means using many household appliances more than normal, and often for longer periods of the day. If the kitchen table is now your office, here are our tips to make your workspace, and home, as energy efficient as possible.

  • Try to orientate your work/study space to take advantage of any daylight available to you. Place your table or desk next to any large windows and reduce the need for artificial lighting during the working day.
  • Replace your standard lightbulbs with LED bulbs, which use up to 75% less energy and last 25 times longer. This switch can save you a lot, especially during the darker months of the year, when we rely more on artificial lights.
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  • Use task lighting like a desk lamp to light the area you are specifically working in. This can reduce overall energy consumption, especially when you use energy saving light bulbs.
  • Use energy-efficient office equipment where possible by choosing laptops, printers, monitors, speakers etc that have an A energy rating and work more efficiently. You are going to be using them a lot, so it makes sense to invest in energy efficient models.
  • Nearly all computers, tablets, mobile phones etc come with an energy saving mode or eco-setting. By optimizing your devices so that they use the minimum amount of energy needed, you can make savings on your energy consumption.
  • Using a power strip can help you manage your energy use, as you can turn on and off all your appliances at the same time. Many now come with a smart option that detects appliances in standby more and turns off the plug automatically.
  • Unplug appliances you are not using. This is particularly true when it comes to charging cables for laptops, mobile phones and other gadgets. While the amount of energy used is relatively small, this ‘standby’ energy can add up and account for almost 10% of an annual bill.

Heating and Cooling: Keeping Warm and Costs Low 

For many people, heating their homes will be the most costly energy expense they have and for those working from home, saving energy when it comes to keeping their homes warm will be paramount. Follow our home office heating tips to keep the draught out and save on those energy bills.

  • Considering installing a programmable thermostat to regulate the temperature of your home throughout the day. Rather than having the heating on constantly, programme the thermostat to lower the temperature at times when it is not as necessary, such as the middle of the day.
  • Check your windows and doors for draughts and seal them up with draught blockers or even something from around the house like a blanket or a towel. You can use them to keep warm air from escaping under the door of your home office.
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  • Turn your radiators off in rooms that you don’t use regularly, so as not to waste energy heating rooms that you won’t be in. You can also use your draught blockers to seal the doors of these rooms to make sure no heat is lost from the rest of the home.
  • Avoid blocking radiators by having furniture in front of them, as a lot of the heat will be blocked from radiating into the rest of the room.
  • Keep heat in the rooms where you want it and out of the rooms where it’s not necessary by making sure you close doors around the house. It’s also more energy efficient to heat a small space than a large one.
  • Trapped air in radiators can make them run less efficiently, costing you more money. By bleeding radiators regularly, you can keep them working properly without wasting energy.
  • It goes without saying that simply putting on an extra layer of clothing can help you feel instantly warmer while working from home. Often the simplest solution is the most effective, and cheapest.
  • When the weather gets warmer and for those particulary hot days in summer, having a small desk fan can help you cool down and not break a sweat.
  • Open doors and windows to get a nice breeze through the house and avoid the need for using electricty to cool your home office.

Kitchen and Cleaning: Hang Expensive Bills Out To Dry

Working and studying from home means no more packed lunches but can add a few extra cups of tea or coffee throughout the day. If high energy bills are not your cup of tea then here are some tips to help save energy in the kitchen.

  • If you’re only planning to have one cup of tea or coffee, don’t fill the kettle completely, as you are just wasting energy heating water that you won’t use.
  • Turn off your oven 10 minutes before cooking time has finished and use the residual heat to finish cooking your food. The same applies for pots or pans that you have on the hob, where you can use the heat of the ring to finish boiling or cooking food.
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  • Microwaves, air-fryers and pressure cookers are much more energy efficient and cost less to use than traditional ovens and cookers. There are many options on the market, making them an affordable purchase for any household.
  • Cover pots and pans while cooking to speed up the cooking process, and try not to open the oven door too much while using it. Up to 20% of the heat from the oven can be lost each time the door is opened, requiring more energy each time to bring the temperature back up.
  • If your electricity is cheaper at night, wait to turn your dishwasher on before going to bed to take advantage of the lower cost. Always make sure it’s full and rinse your dishes before loading them to keep it running efficiently.
  • Set the temperature of your washing machine to its lowest to reduce costs, and always make sure it’s full before starting a cycle.
  • One of the most expensive appliances in a home is the tumble dryer, which can often cost as much as €2 per cycle. Opt for drying clothes outdoors or when this is not possible, invest in a clothes horse or an indoor standing clothes drying rack to save on tumble dryer costs.

Which Appliances Cost the Most?

Developing energy saving habits is one way to lower your energy bills, but it’s also worth knowing which household appliances are costing you the most. If you know the kWh of an appliance, you can work out how much it is costing you based on the particular energy tariff you are on.

Average Cost per Hour of Common Household Appliances
ApplianceKilowatts per HourAverage Cost per Hour
Electric Shower8.5€2.31
Tumble Dryer5€1.36
Electric Kettle3€0.82
Electric Oven2€0.54
Electric Heater2.5€0.68
Dishwasher1.8€0.49
Hair Dryer1.5€0.41
Vacuum Cleaner1.4€0.38
Clothes Iron1€0.27
Microwave0.85€0.23
Washing Machine0.65€0.18
Television (36 Inch)0.2€0.05
Refrigerator0.18€0.05

Source: Purchase.ie
Prices based on Electric Ireland unit rate 27.23c per kWh on a Urban 24 hour meter with VAT included and 8% discount applied.
Last Updated: 26/04/2023

These estimates are based on an hour of use and while you’re never likely to be using your kettle for an hour each day, it shows how costs can accumulate over the year so any savings possible are worth considering.

Energy Saving Gadgets

Changing your energy consumption habits can be tough, and no one wants to be running around their home every day checking every plug socket to see if something was left plugged in. Thankfully, there are a range of affordable gadgets that can make life much easier when it comes to saving energy while working from home.

Smart Plugs

Blue plug and socket

Smart plugs are a great way to make sure you don’t waste energy by leaving appliances switched on or in standby mode. By using your phone, you can control the plug to switch devices on and off, or even programme the plug to turn on or off at particular times of the day. Prices start from €14.99.

Smart Power Strips

Similar to smart plugs, smart power strips give you greater control over multiple appliances at the same time. You can connect them to your phone to remotely turn on and off appliances, and even use home assistants such as Google Nest to control them using your voice.

Some models even detect low usage in an appliance and turn it off manually to save energy. Prices start from €20.

Smart Bulbs

Having switched to LED bulbs, why not take things a step further and invest in some smart bulbs. Similar to the smart plugs, they come with a range of features, which can all be controlled from your phone.

Schedule when lights come on and off, reduce their brightness, change the colour they emit with some even switching off automatically based on how close your smartphone is meaning you’ll never forget to switch the lights off when you leave the house! Prices start from €15.

Smart Thermostat

Blue thermostat

While they may be out of some people’s budget, investing in a smart thermostat can see you make long term savings on your home heating. Not only do they make controlling the temperature in your home convenient, you can use your phone to schedule temperature changes throughout the day, meaning you don’t waste energy. 

Some of the more expensive models can even learn from your routines and habits and set the correct temperature accordingly. Prices start from €70. Check out our guide to the range of smart thermostats available.

Radiator Reflectors

A more budget friendly option for those looking to keep their homes warm without wasting any energy. Radiator reflectors work by reflecting the heat absorbed by the wall at the back of the radiator back into the room.

Resembling a large sheet of tin foil, simply place them between the wall and the radiator to make sure you don’t lose any of the heat emitted from the radiator. Prices start from €7.99.

Switch Provider and Save Money On Home Office Energy Costs

One of the best ways of saving money on your home energy bills is by switching to a provider who offers the best plan for you and your energy needs. Working and studying from home can increase electricity costs so by shopping around, you can find the provider and tariff that works best for you.

Here at Selectra, our dedicated team of experts are committed to making sure you save as much as possible on your home energy needs. Visit our energy guides page to learn more about the options available to you and to see how you can save money on your home energy bills.

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