Working from home has become a new reality for many people as companies attempt to limit the spread of the contagious coronavirus.

As you navigate technology changes and brush up on best practices for remote work, it’s worth exploring how to set up an efficient home office to keep energy costs down.

“When you work from home, energy efficiency can go a long way,” said Francisco Castro, Manager of residential energy efficiency programs at Tucson Electric Power. “Taking small, everyday actions can make a bigger difference as you spend more time at home.”

Consider these energy-saving tips:

  • Utilize power strips. Plug your home office equipment into a smart power strip, which connects to multiple devices at once and supplies power with the flip of a switch. Turning the strip off when you’re not working can help you cut down on “phantom energy” use, which occurs when you’re not using a device but it’s still plugged in.
  • Turn it off when you step away. Always turn off lights, fans and appliances when leaving rooms.
  • Consider using focused task lighting. Targeted lighting may be sufficient instead of lighting an entire room. And make sure you’re using LEDs. Each long-lasting LED bulb can reduce your energy costs by an average of $80 over the course of its lifetime. Through TEP’s ENERGY STAR Lighting Program, you can purchase discounted LEDs at several local retailers.
  • Practice sensible heating and cooling. Remember to replace your system’s air filter monthly or as recommended, and be sure the ducts are properly sealed. While working at home on cooler days, open your window blinds and allow the sun to provide radiant heat. As the days warm up, cover your windows during the day to keep your home cooler. If your air conditioner needs of a tune-up, discounts are available through the Efficient Home Program. And if you have an older, inefficient air conditioning system, it may be worth replacing. Customers can save on qualifying units installed by contractors participating in TEP’s Efficient Home Program.
  • Make power management settings work for you. Many devices have standby modes, which trigger lower power consumption when they’re inactive for a while, such as when you take a long phone call or step away for a break.
  • Remember Time-of-Use hours. TEP’s Time-of-Use (TOU) pricing plans are designed to reward customers with lower rates for using most of their energy during off-peak hours. With a change in your household’s energy habits during remote work, be mindful of adjusting your thermostat or using large appliances during on-peak times. Winter TOU hours are 6-9 a.m. and 6-9 p.m. October through April. Summer TOU hours, which are in effect May 1 through September, are 3-7 p.m.
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