Give Your Home Office Electronics A Green Makeover

More and more businesses are encouraging – even requiring – employees to telecommute. Working from home is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. But is your home office as “green” as it could be? Check out these five tips for conserving energy in your home office:

1. Strip Power to Your Electronics
It’s good practice to turn off power strips. This prevents your electronics from drawing electricity in their “off” or “standby” states. If your power strips are difficult to access, consider a remote-controlled power strip, like Belkin’s Conserve Switch. It lets you shut off all power to your electronics with a handy remote control. It offers a mix of switched and “always-on” outlets, the latter for routers and phones that need continuous power.

2. Use Rechargeable Batteries
Bluetooth keyboards, wireless mice and telephone headsets are just some of the home office electronics that use disposable batteries. A typical home office or home-based business can chew through a lot of AA and AAA batteries in a year. Switching to rechargeable batteries is a huge step towards conservation. USB Batteries, like those from USBCell, look like regular disposable batteries. They are actually NiMH rechargeable batteries, and unlike most rechargeables, they don’t require a special charger. Pop the top on the positive side of the battery to expose a USB plug for conveniently recharging them in any powered USB outlet.

3. Monitor Your Usage
Energy Usage Monitors, like the Kill A Watt from P3 International, let you be the energy police in your home office. Simply plug various electronics into this inexpensive device to find out how much energy they draw powered on, in stand-by mode and powered off. You’ll be able to find out how much energy you can save by simply turning off or unplugging monitors, printers, cell phone chargers, etc.

4. Look for the Energy Star Logo
Buy Energy Star electronics, especially for devices like PCs, monitors and printers that use more energy than smaller products. Choosing Energy Star products when it’s time to replace or upgrade is a great green decision. More and more products are Energy Star certified, which means they meet the EPA’s strict energy usage guidelines. If you do upgrade, don’t forget to donate or recycle your old stuff.

5. Charge Smart
Power adaptors and wall chargers for a number of devices (like wireless phones, iPads, laptops, digital cameras, etc.) continue to draw the same amount of power even after the device is fully charged or disconnected. Smart power strips like The Energy Saving Charging Station by Bits Limited and the Wattstopper IDP-3050 can individually switch power on or off to your chargers once it senses the devices are fully charged or disconnected.

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