Working from home offers so many opportunities to save money. You will spend less on fuel, wardrobe expenses and eating out. The maintenance costs for your car will drop drastically, allowing you to put even more of your money to work. One of the drawbacks, however, is that your home energy costs will go up since you will be home all day. Counteract this rising expense by taking the time to make your home office green and efficient.
Call your local utility company to see if they are willing to perform an energy audit. Most local companies will provide this as a free service. Once you pinpoint the biggest areas of waste, you will know where your greatest opportunities for saving money are. When working in the office, do a sweep of the house to make sure lights and unused electronics are turned off.
Investing in smart Energy Star electronics will help you lower your monthly electric bill, something that’s very important when you’re working from home. The upgrades are a tax write-off, allowing you to save even more money at the end of the year. Invest in a power strip to plug everything in. Consider getting a printer that also works as a fax and scanner to save space and reduce electrical usage. When you are done working for the day and shut off your appliances, simply flip the switch to shut off the power supply completely.
You may not give your flooring much thought, but the flooring you choose does matter. Carpeting requires a great deal of energy to clean, sending your electric bill up. It also crushes down under the office chair and can start to look worn. A better choice is wood or natural tile. They can easily be swept clean, your chair will roll smoothly and the floor will continue looking great over the years.
If you are furnishing your home office, look for furniture that is made from fast-growing woods and upholstered with organic fabrics. Another option is to recycle and choose furniture that is gently used. It will be easier on your pocketbook and it’s a great choice for the environment.
Papers and Printing
There was a time when everything you might ever need would be printed out on paper. As our society becomes more conscious of resources, however, the need to print is steadily decreasing. Use split screens on the computer to avoid printing research. Scan documents and e-mail them rather than copying and printing. Every ream of paper you save is a ream of paper you won’t have to go out and purchase, so it’s also a wise decision for your financial health. If you do need to print, use both sides of the paper whenever possible.
Green office plants are not only visually pleasing, but they will also work to clean the air. Add a few to your home office for interest and fresh air. Philodendrons are an excellent choice because they don’t require direct sunlight and they’re extremely hardy. Take care with the pets, however, because the leaves are poisonous.
Going green is a process. You don’t have to get there overnight. You can take your time with the journey. The steps listed here are smart for the environment, good for your health and great for your finances.
Tony Gomez is a career consultant and enjoys contributing to www.makemoneyfast.org, a site suggesting many ways to make money online — from doing online surveys to writing content for websites.