Energy Efficiency Tips for Going Green in Your Home Office

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Telecommuting or running your business from your home is a great way to save time and money, and it’s also good for the environment. After all, you’re not spending the fuel to commute to and from work. However, that’s not all you can do to be environmentally friendly while working at home.  Let’s take a look at some home office tips that can help you work a lot greener.

According to the US Department of Labor, about fourteen million people telecommute part time and seven million ran home based businesses in 2004.  It’s been a while since then, and the number of people working at home just keeps going up, with a sixty-three percent increase in part time telecommuting between 2004 and 2006.  Over half of all US companies asked offer some form of telecommuting at the moment.

You’ll want to pay close attention to energy use if you’re working at home, however.  Staying home can increase your energy expenditures, and consumer electronics (such as your computer) make up around fifteen percent of usage.  Unplugging unnecessary electronics that don’t need to be on is one place to start.  Fax machines, printers, and copiers are often kept on, even when they don’t need to be.  Computers left on all night are a problem, too.  Turn them off and save a couple hundred dollars a year.

Remember to think about phantom load, too.  That’s why you should unplug, not just turn off.  Many small electronic devices remain in a semi-on state when turned off, so they’ll come back on again quickly.  That might just be a few watts, or it might be up to forty watts per device.

Turning your laser printer off instead of leaving it idle will save half the energy, but if you unplug it, it won’t use any at all.  Seventy-five percent of the energy used to power electronics is used when they’re off, and it adds up.  That’s about ten percent of all monthly power bills.  Using a power strip for peripherals lets you be sure that everything is really off, not just in standby.

Power adapters and chargers should be turned off when you’re not using them, too.  They still draw power, even if there’s nothing plugged in.  Be sure your office lighting is compact fluorescent, not incandescent, and you’ll use less energy, as well as changing and throwing away fewer light bulbs.  Choose Energy Star qualified equipment when you can.  It uses less power, and it’ll keep your house at a more comfortable temperature by running cooler.  Once you start thinking about how to green your home office, you’ll be amazed at all the opportunities there are to do it.

Photo by: Wollwerth Imagery –

Related posts:

  1. Eco-Friendly Printing and Office Tips
  2. Green Living: Telecommuting and The Workplace
  3. Energy Saving Tips for Green Living
  4. Clothes Dryer Efficiency Tips & Forgotten Alternatives
  5. What is Eating your Electricity?
  6. Eco-Friendly Home Economics for the Working Class


  1. Mike Rogers says:

    Good recommendations–there are a lot of simple things people can do. And there are deeper improvements that make homes more energy-efficient (and safer and more comfortable at the same time). An energy audit can help you figure this out. Regarding the home energy audit, it’s important to get the right audit–accurate and actionable and looking at the right things like duct leakage, air infiltration, and equipment efficiency and combustion safety and an analysis of utility bills. For a bit more background on audits and additional links, follow my post at

    Thanks and good luck!

  2. Glen says:

    Having a HVAC system at home could help you to save up energy at home and your electricity expenses along with saving the environment.

  3. turncoat says:

    This is a really good article and a very interesting read.

    Its very good of you to actually put facts in there.

    I work at home and am USUALLY very good when it comes to turning power adapters etc off. One thing I have to ensure though is that when I organise my home office, I must be able to reach the plug socket easily. (Don’t cover it with the desk), so that I can easily swtich it off. 😀


  4. those are great tips, i think you can really make a difference if you make an effort, if everyone did it could change the world.

  5. More people should work from home. Its so much better and would but down on traffic, pollution, and congestion. Companies do not need a lot of their office employees coming to work. They could do it at their home and would be responsible for staying in touch with their companies and getting their work done in timely manner.

    The tip about the laser printer was good. I always used to leave mine on and you would not believe what a energy hog I found that to be. My computer as well. When I am gone I try to remember to put it on “sleep mode.”

    Clinton Y

  6. David says:

    I’ve gone virtually paperless, everything is online.

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