These eco-friendly tips will help you to save money and reduce your impact on the planet while working from home.
So, you’ve cut out the commute, and your office building is no longer having to supply all that gas, electricity and water needed to keep you and your colleagues comfortable and able to perform their jobs. Surely, that means less energy, less carbon pollution, and more eco-friendly working conditions? Not so.
Ditching the drive and working from your kitchen table doesn’t necessarily mean we’re using less energy and reducing our impact on the environment. Seasonal factors need to be taken into consideration. For example, the energy needed to heat a large office accommodating 100 people is normally more economical than that needed to heat 50 houses or flats.
With a second national lockdown in place at the time of writing, a substantial proportion of the UK population is now working from home full-time. And we’re all spending a lot more time at home generally. So, there’s no better time to create a sustainable working environment that works better for you and the planet.
That’s why we’ve put together this list of 5 eco-friendly tips to create a sustainable working from home environment.
1. Turn your heating down
According to research, the average household energy bill could rise by almost 20% as a result of working from home over autumn and winter. This surge equates to around £52m a week spent more on energy bills across the UK.
However, you can take action to reduce the impact on your bank account and the planet. Throw on an extra layer and reduce the temperature on your thermostat a few degrees. You probably won’t notice the difference but if enough people do the same, we can save huge amounts of energy. Even better, upgrade to a smart thermostat and you’ll save even more.
2. Switch to green energy
Thanks to a recent surge in wind power, almost half of the UK’s electricity is now powered by renewable energy.
If you haven’t yet made the switch to renewable or green energy, now’s a good time to review your tariff.
There’s a misperception amongst many that you’ll have to pay more by switching to a green energy provider. However, there are a lot of affordable green energy plans available and some are cheaper than non-green deals. This is because people are becoming increasingly environmentally conscious and technologies in providing renewable energies are advancing.
Many people assume that green and renewable energy is the same, but it’s not. Green energy is a category of renewable energy. Green energy is more environmentally friendly as the resources do not deplete but power comes from natural sources rather than just being recyclable.
3. Don’t keep devices plugged in
Leaving devices on standby can cost UK households up to £86 per year in unnecessary charges. Unplug your devices (including laptops, printer, mobile phones) when you’re not using them. Even better, invest in a smart power strip that automatically turns devices off when they’re not being used.
To further reduce your devices’ costs, swap your regular incandescent light bulbs for LEDs and you’ll save 40% on energy. They’re a much cheaper option in the long-term and better for the environment. This is because LED bulbs don’t waste the electricity they consume.
4. Limit using office supplies
Before you hit the ‘print’ button, consider whether you need to print out that document? Limiting your printing is a great way to reduce costs and the impact on the planet. When you do need to print, use recycled paper and print double-sided.
As well as going digital, you could also invest in sustainable stationery such as bamboo or refillable pens.
5. Buy sustainable office furniture
When you’re working from home for long hours every day, you’ll want to be as comfortable and productive as possible.
If you’re planning to switch working at the kitchen table with setting up a new home office area, invest in sustainable or second-hand furniture.
Materials such as bamboo, seagrass, and rattan are highly sustainable. This is because they don’t contribute to deforestation. If you’re buying wood, make sure it’s FSC certified, which means its raw materials are renewable and sourced from responsibly managed forests.
Top Tip: Did you know that you may be eligible to claim tax relief if you are required to work from home regularly? Visit GOV.UK to find out if you can get government help towards your bills.
Do you have any other eco-friendly tips for working from home?
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