how to make your home office more energy efficient

How to Make Your Home Office More Energy Efficient

By Tobias RobertsRise Writer
Jul 16, 2018

As our society becomes increasingly connected through technology, households around the world are becoming ever more dependent on all different sorts of technological devices that are connected to the internet. From smart thermostats that allow you to control the temperature in your home from your cellphone to TVs, laptops, tablets, and other types of screens, our livelihoods are increasingly dependent on the web. 

A recent report by the International Energy Agency titled “More Data, Less Energy” reports that by 2020, the global demand for network-enabled devices is expected to rise to 50 billion devices. While this might certainly allow for the expansion of “smart home” products that lead to increased energy efficiency within the home, the same report estimated that the energy demand for this amount of devices would soar to 1,140 terawatt-hours per year by 2025. That is more than the annual electricity consumption of Canada and Germany combined. 

In order to optimize the benefits associated with a more connected and digitalized society, it is important to find ways to reduce the carbon footprint associated with the increased energy demand that comes with electrical and network-connected devices used in our homes. While simply unplugging your devices when they are not in use will help you avoid the energy consumption associated with phantom power, opting for the most energy-efficient home office devices is also an important aspect of a sustainable home. 

The High Energy Cost of Appliances

Most homeowners know that heating and cooling home accounts for the largest share of a household´s energy use. However, the Energy Information Administrations (EIA) finds that electronics, lighting, and other household appliances take up almost a third of all energy used in the household—and that percentage is predicted to increase.

Another converging trend: a recent Gallup survey found that the number of people working remotely from home is on the rise. In 2017, around 43% of Americans claimed to spend some time working from home. As more jobs become internet-based, work-related energy costs will most likely shift from commercial offices to individual households. 

While computers, TVs, and other home entertainment and office equipment are becoming increasingly energy-efficient (as with almost all household appliances), the number of household appliances is also growing. Most American homes have an average of 24 appliances. Despite the gains in energy efficiency, the size of the appliances we use is also growing. The average TV screen, to name just one example, has grown from 32 inches in 2002, to 47 inches today, and the same is true of household computers and monitors. 

Below, we offer a complete review of the most sustainable and energy-efficient home office equipment.

Computers

Home computers are becoming ever more energy efficient. And, their actual computing power measured by the number of computer operations per kilowatt-hour of electricity used is also improving. However, more computers are being sold today than ever before, with worldwide computer sales growing from 135 million in 2000 to 355 million in 2011. So, when searching for energy-efficient computers, make sure to choose computers that meet ENERGY STAR certification.

Another certification to look for is EPEAT, the Electronic Products Environmental Assessment Tool, which uses upwards of 50 energy-efficient criteria to rate computers as either gold, silver, or bronze certified. 

Toshiba Portege

Laptop computers are usually much more energy-efficient than desktops, and the Toshiba Portege is the standard-bearer when it comes to energy efficiency. Not only do these laptops achieve ENERGY STAR certification, but they also aim to reduce energy usage with each new model that they put out to market. Toshiba uses a complex mathematical formula that assesses consumer value to environmental impact, ensuring that you get value for your investment while also reducing the energy needed to stay connected in your home office. The Z30 Portege laptop starts at $1,449. 

Apple Mac Mini

The Apple Mac Mini is branded as the most energy-efficient desktop computer in the world. Besides being considerably smaller than other desktops, this computer also has a built-in power supply and uses under eleven watts of power when idle. In terms of ENERGY STAR certification, it goes above and beyond the minimum requirements, meeting the Energy Star 6.0 power requirements with an astounding 87% margin. The Apple Mac Mini currently costs $689 on Amazon.com. 

Samsung Galaxy Tab E Lite

While tablets are usually not the best choice for comfortable doing computer work, they are by the far the most energy-efficient way to browse the internet or watch streaming content. In fact, ENERGY STAR rated tablets and slates use 7 times less power than television and 6 times less than a desktop computer and monitor. The Samsung Galaxy Tab E Lite provides at least 8 hours of battery life while costing under $80 dollars. 

Printers

The printer is another important and essential piece of home office equipment—even with electronic documents, sometimes we still have to print! Finding printers that have a sleep mode and/or automatic shutoff functions will help you save on energy when the printer is not in use. While some printers don’t go into sleep mode until 60 minutes of inactivity has been reached, others will go into sleep mode after just 5 minutes, thus further reducing your energy usage. Automatic double-sided printing makes it easy for you to save on paper without having to go through the hassle of flipping over each and every page you print.

HP Officejet Pro L7780

The HP Officejet Pro L7780 printer costs under $900 dollars and is one of the most energy-efficient printers on the market. It consumes well under one watt of energy when in sleep mode and is able to print up to 35 pages per minute. This product also doubles as a fax machine, scanner, and copy machine, meaning that you won't have to invest in other office equipment. 

Epson Workforce Pro Wf-C5710

Another great all-purpose printer that will satisfy your home office needs is the Epson Workforce Pro; at  $198 on Amazon, it is significantly more affordable. This printer also functions as a scanner, copier, and fax machine and is cloud-connected. Besides being ENERGY STAR certified, it is also one of the most economical in terms of print costs for volume printing.

Bottom Line

Working from home is a great way to cut back on the carbon emissions associated with the daily commute to work. However, your monthly utility bills will most likely also see a rise due to the increased usage of computers, printers, and other necessary household office equipment. The computers and printers reviewed above are great alternatives to help you limit the amount of energy used when working from home. 

Disclaimer: This article does not constitute a product endorsement however Rise does reserve the right to recommend relevant products based on the articles content to provide a more comprehensive experience for the reader.Last Modified: 2021-07-10T06:00:34+0000