Four ways to save energy and money while working from home

A UAB sustainability expert recommends four ways to save energy and money when working remotely.

Editor's Note: The information published in this story is accurate at the time of publication. Always refer to for UAB's current guidelines and recommendations relating to COVID-19.

Light bulb and Coin - Saving concept,Light bulb conceptDuring COVID-19, a lot of people are working from home. While this can help slow the spread of the pandemic, it can cause a rise in energy use and utility bills for your household.  

Bambi Ingram, interim manager of Sustainability at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, recommends four ways to save money and limit energy use while working remotely.

1. Lights out

It may seem simple, but turning the lights off when leaving a room is an easy way to save energy. According to Ingram, an average household will dedicate about 5 percent of its energy budget to lighting.

Replacing your home’s light bulbs with light-emitting diode, or LED, bulbs will help with cost efficiency.  

“By replacing your home’s five most frequently used light fixtures or bulbs with models that have earned the energy star, you can save $45 each year,” Ingram said. “LED bulbs cost more, but they will save you money in the long run.” 

2. Slay energy vampires 

Chargers and other smaller items are often referred to as “energy vampires” by sustainability experts. These devices suck power and will use energy even when they are turned off.  

“Make sure you turn off the television when you are not watching it,” Ingram said. “It not only uses power, but the screen will create heat.” 

Energy43. Keep your cool

In addition to turning off the television, there are several ways you can lower the temperature in your house without the air conditioner, including:

  • use ceiling fans
  • close curtains/blinds during the day
  • use a stovetop, microwave or pressure cooker instead of an oven

4. Maintaining your power bill

Staying up to date with the maintenance of your home can help with power cost. If you have a central cooling system, be sure that floor registers are not blocked by furniture or dust.

“Cleaning or replacing filters once per month will lower an air conditioner’s energy consumption by 5 to 15 percent,” Ingram said.  

By following the steps Ingram recommends, you can lower your energy consumption and possibly lower your monthly power bill.