The ABC of Smart Living When You’re WFH
The ABC of Smart Living When You’re WFH

Millions of us are working from home (WFH) because of the pandemic. But as we switch from offices to living rooms and home offices, there are ways to make the experience better and to save energy while you’re at it. Here are some seven great ways to make your WFH experience smarter and greener.

1. Make it cosy, not costly
Indoor heating, ventilation and air-conditioning can rack up quite a bill. To reduce energy consumption, open your blinds and curtains to let the sun heat up your working area in winter and cool your room with air circulators in summer. They are cheaper and easier to maintain than most air conditioners. Clean air filters and ducts regularly to keep the appliance efficient.
2. Give your battery a rest
Most people work from a laptop at home. An energy-efficient way to work is to run your laptop on its battery rather than keep it plugged in for hours, as the heat produced by overcharging may damage the battery. Switching to energy-saving mode and turning off your laptop when you’ve finished your work also helps.
3. Make your smartphone smarter
With emails, messages and chats to keep up with, it’s almost impossible to keep your phone off. To minimise battery consumption, however, switch off functions like Bluetooth when they are not in use. Closing unused apps and lowering the screen brightness also saves energy. When you must recharge your phone, use the USB port of your laptop rather than a separate power source.
4. Food for thought
Cooking accounts for around a quarter of residential energy use in Hong Kong, according to government statistics – and those are figures from before the pandemic when people began eating at home much more. To save energy and time, use efficient cooking appliances that provide more surface contact, such as slow-cookers, induction cookers and flat-bottomed cookware.
5. Another bright idea
Use natural light wherever it is available. It doesn’t just reduce your electricity use: It also lifts your mood and boosts your productivity. If you do need artificial light, use a desk lamp with an eco-friendly light bulb rather than overhead lighting to provide a more focussed light source for your work area.
6. Unplug and unwind
Appliances you leave switched on while you’re working drain a significant amount of energy over time. Printers, coffee machines, and spare monitors are often left on standby even though they won’t be used while you’re at work. Unplug them to reduce your energy consumption and to eliminate beeps and pings that distract you from your work.
7. Take a tech-cleanse
This final tip is also the easiest. The best way to save energy is to simply avoid using it when you really don’t need to. Instead of turning on the TV when you’re having a rest from work, go on a midday tech-cleanse. Look away from the screen and give your eyes a break. Step outside and take some exercise if you can. You’ll feel much better for it … and smarter and greener too.