Office of Environmental and Energy Coordination

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Our office is open 8:30AM-5PM M-F

TTY 711

12000 Government Center Pkwy, Suite 533
Fairfax, VA 22035

Kambiz Agazi,

Working From Home (Energy) Efficiently

COVID-19 has changed the business landscape drastically. With thousands of businesses closed entirely and thousands more embracing telework arrangements for staff throughout the county, these are challenging times. One of the less-commonly discussed effects of this change is the potential increase in residential energy bills as a result of more people staying home during regular working hours. Even if you’ve settled into a work-from-home routine over the past several weeks, it’s not too late to shake things up and add some new, energy-saving behaviors to the mix. Here are five ideas to get you started:

Check Your Screen and Power Settings

Take a moment to look at the power, screen and sleep settings on your computer. To save energy, adjust the settings so that your computer and/or monitor goes to sleep after 30 minutes of inactivity (or less). This will save you from paying for energy used by your computer when you step away to grab lunch or to take care of the kids.

Give Your HVAC a Break

Since you’re at home most of the time, your heating and cooling needs have likely changed as compared to when you were leaving and returning on a regular schedule. Take advantage of the lovely spring weather and explore natural ventilation. Open a window when the temperature and weather allow circulate fresh air. Be sure to turn off your HVAC when you do this, to avoid wasting energy.

Use a Smart Power Strip

Sometimes a little automation goes a long way. Investing in a smart power strip can save you energy and money by automatically powering down appliances and electronics that are not in use. American households spend tens of millions of dollars on power for inactive electronics each year. Plug items like computer monitors, TVs, gaming consoles, and DVD players into a smart strip to prevent them from pulling power when they’re in standby mode.

Fan Out

In addition to changing your thermostat set points, make use of ceiling fans if you have them. Fans move air around and help your body take advantage of evaporative cooling. This means that you can stay cool without needing to pump in newly chilled air from your AC. Fans requires significantly less energy than HVAC systems

Turn Off Those Lights

The most basic energy saving tip of them all is sometimes the hardest to remember. Whenever you leave a room, hit the switch. Consistently turning off lights you’re not using saves significant energy and money over time. Whether you’re working in a dedicated office space, sitting at your kitchen table, or moving from one space to another throughout the day, this is a no-brainer. As a bonus, try thinking of your computer monitor as a light – when you prepare to leave your office, hit the power button on the monitor before you go.

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