Have you started working from home? This is a highly attractive proposition for all of us, with a daily commute that costs nothing in fuel and can be done in your pyjamas, it seems to be an ideal way of saving time and money. However, you need to watch out for the hidden cost of your utility bills, think about all the heat and electricity you use at work, you now have to foot the bill for this yourself.
By working from home you could be doubling the time you spend there, which will be highlighted in your bills. By taking steps to manage your energy use while you work, you can significantly reduce your new overhead.
By now you should be well educated as to how you can make energy saving improvements to your home. If you have been planning to install double glazing or loft insulation, now may be the time to make these investments.
Chances are you will delegate a room in your home as your new office, and spend the majority of your time in here. If this is the case then there is no point in heating your other rooms, installing a thermostat that allows you to heat just one room will prevent you wasting money on the rest of your home.
Many electronics, when left on standby, still use around a quarter of the energy they would if they were on. A desktop computer with peripheral equipment such as a printer and scanner uses a lot of energy, and if you have them on all day you will notice the difference on your bill. By plugging your office equipment into the mains via a power managing lead you can save money by turning these peripherals off instead of on standby.
Rising fuel costs mean that it has never been more important to make energy saving changes to your home. Now your home is also your place of work, these changes are an investment that will produce financial rewards.
Now there is a change in your pattern of energy use, it may be worth shopping around for a new provider. Your current tariff could charge significantly more for the extra energy you are now using, so have a look around for the best one for you.
If your bills have risen dramatically, it may be worth switching to a business tariff. Every provider has different rules about this but generally you will need to be using half of your energy for work and be registered as a business or self-employed.
Per unit, business tariffs are far cheaper than domestic tariffs. You do, however, have to pay a higher rate of tax, 20% instead of the 5% a domestic user pays. On top of this you may have to pay the climate change levy, depending on your line of work and where the energy is sourced from.
Every case is different so you will have to do the maths. Even if a business tariff is not feasible, it is still worth comparing different providers to find the best deal.
By managing your energy costs, you can make your home office a cost effective, as well as enjoyable place to work.