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Power plays in the home office

As more people work from a home office during the COVID-19 pandemic, they may also see an increase in home energy bills. Burke-Divide Electric Cooperative offers some suggestions to
maximize the energy efficiency of your electronic devices:

Use power strips
No matter what types of electronics you use, those glowing lights at night prove that power is still being consumed, even while everyone is sleeping. And those electronics all draw small amounts of power, even when not in use.

There is a convenient and low-cost solution. A power strip makes it easy to turn them all off with one click.

Make sure your monitors, printers and other accessories are on a power strip/surge protector. When this equipment is not in use for extended periods, turn off the switch on the power strip to prevent them from drawing power even when shut off.

Unplug
When a laptop or smartphone is fully charged, unplug it. Powering down your computer completely every night uses 50 percent less energy than sleep mode.

On or off?
Ensure power management features are enabled so your computer monitor will automatically go into sleep mode after a period of inactivity. A computer idling in “sleep” mode uses less than half the energy of an active computer. Most of you already have your monitor set to enter a low-power sleep mode when the computer is not being used. However, many times the computer itself is not set to enter this same low-power mode. Spending a large portion of time in low-power mode not only saves energy but helps equipment run cooler and last longer.

Of course, a desktop or laptop computer can still use 15-21 watts when idle. Turn it off instead and save even more electricity. Turn off the monitor if you aren’t going to use your computer for more than 20 minutes.

Note that screen savers are not energy savers. It is a common misperception that screen savers reduce a monitor’s energy use. Use automatic switching to sleep mode or simply turn it off. Turn off the computer if you’re not going to use your PC for more than two hours. Most PCs reach the end of their “useful” life due to advances in technology long before the effects of being switched on and off multiple times have a negative impact on their service life. The less time a PC is on, the longer it will “last.”

Use the right light
Energy efficient lighting is one of the best energy-saving home office ideas! Energy-efficient lighting uses one-quarter to one-third of the power of regular light bulbs. Energy-saving lights generate less heat and last 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs.

Print it twice
Print double-sided pages. Much more energy is used in the manufacturing and distributing of paper than the actual printing at your office.

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