While COVID-19 continues to spread across the country and the world, chances are you’re spending a lot more time at home, and not in the office. With more people in your home and less people in your office, you might see some significant changes in your energy bills. In times like these, when every dollar counts, taking a look at how you might be able to save on your energy, both at home and at the office, might provide some valuable dollars to stay secure and able to put food on the table.
Ways to Save on Your Energy Bills at Home
If your whole family is home all the time, there may be some things you can’t control about the increased cost of energy. But there are still plenty of things you CAN do. Take the opportunity to institute some good energy-saving habits, and you may find that your energy bills actually drop to a lower amount when everyone returns to their work or school routines.
Make Sure Everyone is Aware of How Much Energy They Use
Awareness is 90% of the battle. In order to be effective institute energy-saving practices, everyone needs to be on board and know what actions they are taking that spend energy. Sure, it might be annoying at first to constantly be reminding (or being reminded by) your family members to turn off the lights or have energy down time, but doing so will help them see each area they’re consuming, and where they can potentially help save.
Turn Off the Lights!
While this is the most obvious and known way to save on your household energy bills, it’s worth a reminder that this should be top of mind! Especially during the day, do everything you can to keep your lights off and allow natural sunlight to keep things illuminated. If you haven’t already, it may also be worth picking up some energy-saving lightbulbs the next time you have to venture out to the store, so you can continue to save in the evenings as well.
Take Shorter Showers
When you’re at home all the time, it may be tempting to spend a little extra time in the shower. That’s totally natural, showers are great! However, with everyone at home, not only are you going to use more water and energy to heat that water, but it will be multiplied by everyone who is taking a slightly longer shower. Making the decision to stick to a shorter shower time can really help to cut the cost of your energy. You may even consider setting a timer or using another way to track how long you wash to make sure you stay within a limit.
Perform a “Furniture Check”
Everyone arranges their house differently, but home builders can only plan out a home in one way. As such, there’s a chance that the way you’ve furnished your house is not optimal for energy savings. Go through each room of your house and run through a checklist of items to see if there’s more you can do to make your home more energy efficient:
- Where are your air vents, and is there anything covering them?
- Could rearranging minimize how many lights have to be on to adequately illuminate your space?
- Do you have curtains on your windows, and are they being used for insulation in the evenings?
- Are there spaces that could be better insulated with a rug or other floor covering?
Not only can this help you save on your energy, but it can be a good practice to identify what you need or don’t need, and might be fun to help rearrange things a bit.
Full Loads Only
When there are fewer people at home, it can take a bit longer to fill up a full dishwasher or laundry load before running your dishwasher or washing machine. In times like these, you can save a lot on your energy by only running your appliances when they’re actually full. In addition, wash your clothes on cold settings as often as possible, as most of the energy used when washing your clothes is to heat up the water.
“Energy Save” on Your Devices
Most electronic devices have a setting that will help conserve energy. Usually this will result in a less-bright screen or fewer applications running in the background, but you’ll find that you get used to the new mode pretty quickly. Make sure your devices get unplugged as soon as they’re fully charged, and you may even consider having “device-free” time during the day to unplug yourselves from your devices on a daily basis. You won’t be using that energy if you’re not using your devices at all!
Ways to Save on Your Energy Bills at Work
Chances are, you’ve had to either close your office or business to let your employees quarantine at home. If you’ve had to keep business open with your essential staff, there are probably areas of your business that still aren’t getting the usual activity. In most cases, there are ways that you can save on your energy at work.
Make Sure All Workstations are Shut Down
While it’s possible that all your employees were able to take home their computers and can function normally from their home offices, there are usually a bunch of other devices that would normally be used, like monitors, phones, printers, televisions, and more, that may still be plugged in and operating in the office. Take a lap around your business and make sure that anything that isn’t being used is not just turned off, but unplugged, in order to save the most energy.
Turn Down the Heating/Air Conditioning
In a lot of cases, businesses won’t have anyone in the office most of the time. In this case, it would make sense to turn down the temperature controls to avoid extra costs on your heating or cooling. Be careful not to adjust things too much, so things don’t freeze or overheat, but keeping things at a comfortable working temperature isn’t necessary if no one is there to work.
Close All the Blinds
Most workspaces have TONS of windows. While great for providing natural lighting, windows also leak out a lot of energy. If you have window coverings, go around the office and make sure you cover as many of the windows as possible.
Renegotiate Your Energy Rates
While you’re focusing on cutting costs wherever possible to keep things afloat, it may be time to also take a look at your energy rates to see if there’s a way you can save on your energy all the time. Most business owners hardly take a look at their energy costs once they’ve got their energy service in place, but most businesses could benefit from looking at their energy supplier options.
Like the auto insurance industry, where every company touts they can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars a year by switching, energy suppliers can often provide a better rate than the one you’re getting on any given day. The trick is being able to see how your energy rates could change across all potential suppliers. In some states, there is only one option, but in states with deregulated energy, you really could save thousands on your energy by switching.
The easiest way to see your options is to speak with an energy broker. At BOX, our energy brokers have a full scope of all the energy prices across the suppliers in your area, and with a quick conversation and some details, can help you start saving on your energy right away.
To get a full picture of your options, request a free evaluation with one of our brokers today.