Running a business from home? Save Energy, Save Money.

By | February 3, 2012

It might be difficult to believe, but you could be saving up to 20 per cent of the energy you use for your home office or home business. Saving energy is one of the most cost-effective ways to bring your budget down, and as a small business, every dollar you save is well worth the effort. However, you don’t have to sacrifice efficiency or work quality to make energy savings. Here are some simple steps you can take to cut your energy use.

1. Arrange your work area near a window. If you are fortunate enough to have a big window in your office, use it to your advantage. Studies show that sunlight can help people feel more emotionally stable throughout the work day and increase their sense of wellbeing. This tactic will also allow you to turn out the lights for the majority of the day, which is a major energy cost.

2. Get unplugged. In the business world, many people are switching to laptops, even if they have a work desk. If you haven’t already, follow suit and get a portable computer, which uses only a fraction of the energy that a desktop computer requires. If you have other office appliances, such as a printer and copier, keep them unplugged until you really need them to save on phantom power loads. Also, invest in software that allows you to receive faxes via email so that you don’t have to run a fax machine 24 hours a day.

3. Forget paper. One of the best things you can do for your small business immediately is to go paperless. Relying on electronic communications such as email will save the energy that you use to run a printer, but the real cost savings come through the rest of your budget — no more need to buy expensive toner or reams of paper. Going paperless is good for the environment, but it’s also good for your business; many companies find that they run more efficiently when they can share information at the click of a button.

4. Talk to your energy provider, and compare energy prices. If you are like most UK homeowners, you have experienced a hike in energy tariffs in the past six months. This could be hitting your pocket twice as hard since you live and work at home. Call your energy company to see if you can get your rate of service lowered. If not, get online and go to uSwitch to find more accommodating, less expensive companies that can give you the same service at a lower price.

5. Monitor your heating and air conditioning use. One of the advantages of working from home where there may be few people is being able to adjust the thermostat when you need to. In the summer, try raising the temperature by two degrees, and in the winter, do the opposite. It won’t make a huge difference in your comfort level, but you will be able to see it in your next energy bill. To compensate for temperature changes, dress in layers when you head to the part of your home where the office is.

About the Guest Post Author:  Tara is a freelance and blog writer. Money saving enthusiast and frugal traveller.