Managing costs

Tips for saving energy while working from home

With more than four million people in Australia working remotely since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, energy costs for businesses and employees have decreased in offices and increased in people’s homes.

To help reduce your usage while working from home, we’ve put together this list of energy saving tips for yourself and the team.

1. Switch off when you’re not working

Standby power usage can account for up to 10% of the average Australian electricity bill, making it a hidden source of energy costs. At the end of the day and during periods when you’re not working you can reduce standby energy usage by:

  • switching off appliances, such as computers, monitors, printers and copiers, at the wall, and turning off the lights
  • turning off heating and cooling systems when they’re not needed.

You can also make life easier by setting timers on computers and office equipment to automatically turn off at the end of the day. Many appliances also feature an ‘energy saving’ mode, so it can pay to switch that on too.

2. Limit your air conditioner and heater usage

Heating and cooling are responsible for up to 50% of energy usage at home, depending on your climate zone and factors such as insulation. Fortunately, there are a few easy things you can do to cut down on your energy usage and maximise the efficiency of your heating and cooling systems:

  • make sure your doors and windows are sealed properly – this could cut your energy bill by up to 25%
  • keep doors closed when the air conditioner or heater is switched on
  • only heat or cool the rooms in which you’re working
  • invest in heavy blinds or window coverings to reduce heat loss in winter and block out sunlight in summer.

And if you have a thermostat, adjusting it by as little as one degree can make a noticeable difference. In fact, for every degree, you increase the temperature when cooling or decrease it when heating, you can save up to 10% on your energy use.

The Australian Government recommends setting your heating between 18°C and 20°C in winter and your cooling between 25°C and 27°C in summer.

3. Let the (natural) light shine in

Lighting makes up between 8% and 15% of the average household electricity budget. With this in mind, during the daytime, take advantage of natural light rather than turning the switch. You can also:

  • opt for lighter coloured furnishings that reflect light and reduce the need for artificial lighting
  • switch to LEDs, which use around 80% less energy and last between five and 10 times longer than halogen bulbs
  • install a lighting sensor or timer so lights automatically switch off when areas aren’t being used.

4. Compare energy plans

Most of us choose an energy plan once and stick with it – which often means paying more than we need to overtime.

One way to help reduce your energy bills can be shopping around and comparing retailers and plans. New deals pop up regularly, so it’s a good idea to review your current plan and see if you could save by switching.

5. Consider tax deductions

Although not technically an energy saving tip, you could be able to indirectly reduce your energy costs by claiming a tax deduction for work expenses such as electricity and gas for heating, cooling and lighting.

The ATO’s guide to home office expenses outlines what you can and can’t claim, and a tax adviser can provide guidance on which deductions apply to your situation.

Running a business is no easy feat, especially during a pandemic when finances may be tighter than usual. Reducing your energy usage throughout the day while you work from home can be one quick and efficient way to make some savings.

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*Based on 958 meters switched between 1 July 2019 to 3 April 2020