At Next Day Animations, we love to work from home. Don’t get us wrong! Nothing compares to turning to a coworker who is literally in the chair beside you and showing them your innovative, entertaining, just-completed explainer animation. But with remote team members across the US and beyond (not to mention temperatures at record lows in Minneapolis), working from home lets us show up without having to leave the house.
As it turns out, not-leaving the house can be great for the environment because of the energy saved by not commuting. But, we’ve been working and dreaming of ways to make all our offices––even our homes–– more environmentally sustainable.
What can you do to make your home office greener? Check out our tips below.
Perhaps the most important tool in the home office. Wield it wisely.
- Use Laptops. Laptops are more energy efficient than desktop computers, using up to 80% less electricity.
- Embrace Narcolepsy. When you’re not using your computer, let it sleep. To adjust your computer’s settings and make this automatic, see below.
- Adjust Power Management Settings. Get your systems to do the work of conserving energy for you. Instructions here.
- Once your battery is charged, unplug it. Your laptop battery will last longer if you keep your charge level between 40-80% rather than maintaining 100% or running it all the way down to zero. https://www.wired.com/2013/09/laptop-battery/
A great space can make work fun and sustainable. Spark some joy.
- Light Strategically. Who needs an overhead light when you have windows and LED desk lamps! Hot tip: Position lamps in places where their light will be magnified, like corners.
- Power Strip. Some devices use energy even when they’re off. Sneaky, right? Unplug or use a power strip to turn all your device on and off throughout the day.
- Temperature Innovator. Get cozy during the winter with layers and energy-efficient heaters. Chill out during summer with light clothes, open windows, and magnificent fans. This saves on heating or cooling the whole house.
Thinking deeply about how often we buy and who we buy from.
- Less. Using what you already have, repairing rather than replacing, and buying for durability–– this reduces waste and overall footprint. It’s a radical act and a way of loving and valuing your daily tools.
- Local. Let’s face it: It’s convenient to buy a ream of printer paper without leaving your bed. No lines. No heavy lifting. No travel to the printer paper store. But getting multinational corporation to transport the product right to your door involves more resources and builds less relationships within your community.
- Renewable. Whenever possible, buy your energy from renewable sources. In Maryland, we recommend Clean Choice Energy. In Minnesota, exciting solar and wind options abound.
- Recycled. Toilet paper, printer paper, desk chairs–– the options are endless. Thrift stores are great for new work clothes, coffee pots, and more. We also recommend The Green Office, an awesome certified B Corporation.
- Energy Efficient. Visit Energy Star for in-depth information on green products and practices.
Less is More
Loving what you have and living simply is more than a trend and Marie Kondō knows it.
- Water. Vast amounts of energy go into purifying and distributing water to households. Reducing water use and water heat can lower greenhouse gas emissions.
- Heating and Cooling. Heat or cool the room you’re working and save the energy that would go into temperature-regulating the entire house.
- Printing. Chances are, most of your work’s done online, so you’re already on your way to using less paper and ink.
- Streaming. Streaming accounts for a huge portion of internet activity and the infrastructure required to support it consumes many resources. When possible, download files and play directly from your computer.
Books have been written about this! When your home is your office, every repair or addition is an amazing opportunity. From installing solar panels to adding insulation, there’s tons of exciting ground to cover. We recommend starting here.
In conclusion, it’s been important for us to recognize that this is a spectrum and it takes time (along with a sense of urgency) to grow and change. We love individual action–– turning off lights, installing solar panels, zero waste–– but we know it’s not enough. We need to change the way corporations do business. Analyzing our home offices is one step on that journey. Send us an email with any tips of your own!