How to save energy when you work from home

7 September 2016

Do you run a home office, or maybe you just work from home a few days a week to escape a lengthy commute? More and more Aussies are switching from the corporate office to the living room, so here's some handy tips on managing your energy use at home.

In 2013 the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that about one in 12 employees work from home (at least some of the time), which is a pretty large chunk of the workforce.1

Sure, there are some excellent benefits in working from home, but, like most things, there are pluses and minuses to having a home office – and a major minus can be a higher energy bill. 

Here are a few tips to help manage your energy use and save money on your bill. 


8 energy saving tips for working at home


1. Buy energy-efficient equipment

Get things right from the beginning by buying energy-efficient appliances, like computers and monitors that comply with the Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS)2, printers with no/low standby power consumption and even LED light bulbs. When it comes to keeping cool in summer, be sure to use fans instead of turning on the air conditioner.  Small changes like these really do make a difference when it comes to lowering your energy bill, so don’t overlook simple solutions from the start.

2. Power down with a power board

Buy an energy saving power board for all your work related technology. Connect your main appliance, likely to be your computer, to the ‘master socket’ and then connect other appliances (monitors, printers, charger and lamps) to the ‘slave sockets’. When you turn your computer off, power to the other units shuts down automatically ensuring power is not wasted on appliances that are left on but not being used. If you leave electrical appliances turned on at the wall they will continue to consume energy, so put everything on one power board and make it easy for yourself to flick off one switch at night.

Find the right energy plan for your lifestyle 

3. Heat yourself before you heat the space around you

If you use a ducted heater to warm your home, you probably receive your largest energy bill at the end of winter.  If dressing in warm clothing and regularly doing some simple exercises on the spot doesn’t bring you comfort, try draping an electric heated throw rug over your knees and keep warm for an energy cost of about five cents per hour.3

5. Be a masterchef

If you’re handy in the kitchen, you could try slow-cooking your dinner while you work.  Slow-cookers are not only versatile; they use far less energy than standard ovens. 

6. Choose a laptop

Laptops use as much as 80 percent less energy than desktop computers because they’re designed to be used without a power source.4 So choosing a laptop over a desktop could save you dollars. (And you can take it to have coffee too).

7. Heat the hub, not the whole house

If you’re using a heating or cooling system in your home office during the day, make sure you’re only heating or cooling the area you’re working in. Close doors, use curtains, blinds and draft stoppers to keep your office energy use contained to a single room if possible. The same rule applies to lighting – you only need to turn on lights in rooms you’re using. 

8. Research tax breaks & rebates

Did you know you may be eligible to claim a percentage of your energy bill as a work expense? Other rebates may also be available to you, so do your research and know your entitlements. Read this Australian Government information on rebates


If you work from home a lot you could benefit from Origin's new fixed price energy plan, Predictable Plan. You'll pay a fixed amount for your electricity or natural gas each month for one year (but our Fair Use Policy applies if your usage is excessive or unreasonable).

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Authored by Carly Jacobs

Carly is the founding editor of Smaggle which launched in 2007 back when blogging was weird. She has appeared in The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Cosmopolitan and Cleo magazines. Hoop earrings are totally her thing and she almost got run over by Myf Warhurst while out jogging one day.

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  1. News.com.au 2013, Australian Bureau of Statistics says 1 in 12 people work more at home, but new research shows it can leave you a little lonely. 
  2. Department of Industry and Science 2012, Proposed Minimum Energy Performance Standards for Computers and Computer Monitors.
  3. Based on a 150kW throw rug at 0.26 cents per kWh (average Australian peak domestic price).
  4. Department of Industry and Science 2012, Proposed Minimum Energy Performance Standards for Computers and Computer Monitors
  5. You may incur other costs in order for your property to be solar ready (such as electrical works, cabling or roof repairs).