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More and more people are starting to think about ways to reduce their power consumption, especially if they are working from home. Some want to reduce their bills, while others are feeling the need to reduce their impact on the planet.
Whatever their reasons, it's never a bad idea to reign in your power consumption.
For many years now, I've been testing office equipment, both on the bench and in real-world office environments, and keeping a close eye on power consumption. A positive thing that I've noticed is that, on the whole, devices are getting more and more efficient.
Good work, manufacturers.
But that doesn't mean that there isn't room for improvement. I'm going to offer you a handful of tips to help you claw back dollars from the power company.
Are these tips going to save you hundreds of dollars? That's unlikely, unless you're a huge power user, but not only will you see savings, and be helping to make less of an impact on the planet, you're also going to make your office safer.
1. Get rid of old incandescent bulbs
One of the biggest energy hogs that I find in modern offices is old incandescent bulbs. While most people are good at swapping these old bulbs out for modern LED bulbs in light fixtures, they seem to overlook them in desk lamps.
Check all your bulbs!
And while you're buying LED bulbs, I recommend buying quality bulbs. While all low-energy bulbs look much the same, in my experience the cheaper ones don't last as long as quality ones from name brands like Phillips.
The best way to find out how much power your devices are consuming is to measure it yourself! This way you can check everything, from your laptops and PCs and chargers, to things like lamps, TVs, and your office refrigerator.
Despite a lot of hype to the contrary, turning off devices is not going to save you a pile of money, but the more gadgets you have, the more you're going to save. And the most convenient, modern way to do this is to use smart plugs that you can control from your smartphone!
It's probably only going to be a few dollars a year, but every little bit counts.
But there's another hidden benefit to turning things off when they're not in use -- and that's safety. Leaving things plugged in and powered up 24/7/365 causes premature wear and can present a slight -- but real -- fire hazard.
Bonus: Use your power station to capture free power!
Many people use power stations and solar panels when camping or going off-grid, or as a way to ride out power outages. But if you have a power station setup, remember there's nothing stopping you from using it to capture free solar power to use around your home or office.
Even in the UK, where clouds and rain are common, I've been able to capture several hundred dollars' worth of power (our power here is more expensive than it is in the US, but it's still pricey enough to make this a worthwhile endeavor there).
Connect your solar panels up to your power station, point them at the sun, and collect yourself some free power!