Chapter

Home Office Equipment and Home Electronics

Nearly 4.2 million people in the U.S. worked from home in 2000, up from 3.4 million in 1990. Working from home saves energy and time by cutting out the commute, but it may increase your home energy bills a lot unless you use energy-saving office equipment.

ENERGY STAR labeled office equipment is widely available: it provides users with dramatic savings, as much as 90% savings for some products. Overall, ENERGY STAR labeled office products use about half the electricity of standard equipment. Along with saving energy directly, this equipment can reduce air-conditioning loads, noise from fans and transformers, and electromagnetic field emissions from monitors.

Home Office Tips

Shop for ENERGY STAR products for your home office, including:

  • computers;
  • monitors;
  • copiers;
  • fax machines;
  • printers;
  • scanners; and
  • multifunction devices (fax, scanner, copier).

Keep Your Home Office Efficient with ENERGY STAR

Home offices are increasingly popular. Be sure to use ENERGY STAR office equipment to save electricity. Here are some tips.

  • Selecting energy-efficient office equipment—personal computers (PCs), monitors, copiers, printers and fax machines—and turning them off when they’re not in use can result in enormous energy savings.
  • An ENERGY STAR-labeled computer uses 70% less electricity than computers without this designation. If left inactive, ENERGY STAR-labeled desktop computers enter a sleep mode and use 4 watts or less. Spending a large portion of time in low-power mode not only saves energy, but it helps equipment run cooler, which means it can last longer.
  • To maximize energy savings when using a laptop, plug the AC adapter into a power strip that can be turned off (or will turn off automatically). If the AC adaptor is plugged into a wall receptacle or outlet, the transformer in it will draw power continuously, even if the laptop is not plugged into the adapter.
  • Common misconceptions sometimes account for the failure to turn off equipment. Many people believe that equipment lasts longer if it’s never turned off. This incorrect perception carries over from the days of older mainframe computers.
  • ENERGY STAR-labeled computers and monitors save energy only when the power-management features are activated, so make sure these features are activated on your computer.
  • There is a common misconception that screen savers reduce the energy used by monitors; they do not. Setting your computer to automatically go into sleep mode after a pre-set time of non-use (or manually turning monitors off) is always the better energy-saving strategy.

Long-Term Savings Tip

  • Consider buying a laptop for your next computer upgrade; they use much less energy than desktop computers.

Tips for Home Electronics

Shop for ENERGY STAR home electronics, including:

  • cordless phones;
  • televisions;
  • VCR, DVD, DVR and other types of media players, including combination units;
  • home audio equipment; and
  • set-top boxes.

Other Tips for Using Home Electronics

  • Power strips help save wasted energy.
  • Look for energy-saving ENERGY STAR-labeled home electronics.
  • Many appliances continue to draw a small amount of power when they are switched off. These “phantom” loads occur in most appliances that use electricity, such as DVD players, televisions, stereos, computers, and small kitchen appliances. These phantom loads can be avoided by unplugging the appliance or using a power strip and using the switch on the power strip to cut power to the appliance.
  • Unplug battery chargers when the batteries are fully charged or when the chargers are not in use.
  • Studies have shown that using rechargeable batteries for products such as cordless phones and PDAs is more cost-effective than using standard batteries. If you must use non-rechargeable batteries, check with your trash removal company about options for their safe disposal.