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6 Ways to Save on Your Energy Bill When Working From Home

6 Ways to Save on Your Energy Bill When Working From Home

In 2018, way before the world opened up to the idea of working from home, the average monthly consumption, per person, of electricity was 914 kWh. Even then, many people took the time to reevaluate their energy usage and make positive changes to cut back on their footprints and save on their energy bills.

Now, many of us are facing much higher rates of consumption because we’re always home.

This has some doubling their electricity bill and stretching their internet usage to the max. The average electricity bill in 2018, in the US, was $117.65. What are you paying today?

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Working from home can create a huge drain on your utilities, but there are ways to cut back. Remembering these simple steps can help save money on your energy bill.

vampire appliances

1. Control vampire appliances

While the name makes them sound devious, vampire appliances are everyday items that continue to suck electricity even when they’re not in use. Simply keeping them plugged in means they’re stealing away valuable energy and costing you extra. Some of the biggest culprits in this category are:

  • Cell phone and laptop chargers
  • Video game chargers and console plugs
  • Computer printers
  • TVs
  • Stereos
  • Coffee makers
  • Electric toothbrushes

You can unplug most of these items when they’re not in use. It’s easy to keep chargers next to outlets, but not always plugged in at the ready. When you remove your electronics from their charger, even if it’s your toothbrush, simply unplug the charger, as well.

The same goes for your coffee maker and any other appliance that runs a clock or lets you program it. Those are the parts taking your electricity all the time. When you’re done with them, unplug them.

For devices where it’s harder to reach the outlet, like the TV, consider plugging everything into a power strip with a longer cord. This makes it easy for you to reach the on/off switch on the power cord. Turning the strip off when you’re done binge-watching your favorite show means a little extra cash to rent the movie going straight to streaming.

cell phone charger save on energy bill

2. Drain the power

It’s not an irrational fear, especially when working from home, to worry about your laptop or tablet running out of power at a crucial moment. We get busy and don’t always keep an eye on our power levels when finishing up an important project. The safety net, for some, is to keep their devices plugged in at all times. This way, power always stays at 100 percent. This tactic might be OK if you’re only home for part of the day. But working full-time from home, it’s a huge energy drain.

Consider only charging your device in short spurts during the day to give it an energy boost. A perfect time for a recharge is when you walk away for lunch or take a bathroom break. Concentrate on getting it back up to 100 at night, when you’re done working.

Doing this not only helps you save on your energy bill, but it’s also good for your device’s battery. According to TIME, fully charging your battery stresses it out and can wear it down faster. We’re already pushing our devices to the limit as we work from home. Let’s try and keep the battery working as long as possible.

computer being put to sleep

3. Put it to sleep

Does your computer stay on even when you walk away from it? Have you turned off sleep mode to make sure you don’t miss a single notification during working hours? If so, you’re burning up electricity. Engaging power management features or putting your computer to sleep can save you up to $50 per year on your electric bill. That’s huge.

You can also save more by using office equipment with an ENERGY STAR® rating. These computers, monitors and printers all naturally use less energy to perform the same tasks as energy-sucking devices. They’ll also power down automatically when not in use.

After two hours of sleeping, remember to turn your devices off. You’re clearly done with them for the day (hooray).

man at computer save on energy bill

4. Manage your lighting

Whether your home office is at the kitchen table, inside a closet or in a dedicated office space, lighting is key. It’s also expensive. If you haven’t already, convert the bulbs in your office to LEDs. They not help you save on your energy bill, but the average LED bulb lasts about 25,000 hours. An incandescent bulb only makes it 1,200 hours.

After you’ve taken care of the bulbs, seek out sources for natural light. If you’re working in an area with windows, open up the blinds. Rely on natural light, if you can, for at least part of the day, giving your bulbs a break.

Always make sure to turn off all lights when you leave a room.

woman in blanket

5. Control the temperature

Most office buildings are notorious for unregulated temperatures. One office is freezing. You’re wearing a sweater in summer and using a space heater. Another is so hot you dress in layers all winter so you can have short sleeves while at work. Your apartment won’t be so problematic. The issue is that you’re home all the time, so your thermostat is constantly working.

When you’re not home, it’s possible to adjust your thermostat to temps that make it less likely to run as often. It’s important to have a comfortable temperature when working, which means you’re using more electricity to regulate the temperature in your apartment. When you’re not home, you don’t need to maintain that temperature. Just a single degree adjustment can save you money. This slight change isn’t noticeable either, so consider it a way to save a few bucks.

You can also bite the bullet and alter your thermostat by a few additional degrees. You’ll notice this, but you’re working from home where there’s no dress code. If you get cold, you can wrap up in a heavy blanket and still type. If you get hot, you can sit at your desk in clothing fit for the pool. Keep something business-appropriate close by to throw on for those conference calls, but revel in a lower electric bill.

person on cell phone save on energy bill

6. Cut back on data usage

While your router doesn’t technically use a large amount of electricity, having it on all the time, always working for you, drains another essential utility when working from home — data. You need this as much as you need electricity in order to get your work done, but there are limits.

Maxing out your data limits each month not only means your devices are working overtime to raise your electricity bill, but you’re at risk for paying internet overages. Being resourceful with your internet usage can work hand-in-hand with lowering your electric bill. Just remember, even when you’ve put your computer to sleep, it could still drain your data.

To avoid this, make sure to:

  • Turn off location services on your phone while you’re home
  • Download music and videos instead of streaming
  • Use an internet browser that automatically compresses data like Google Chrome
  • Turn off the streaming device on your TV before you turn off the TV. They all keep streaming even when the TV isn’t on.
  • Use some of your phone data instead of your Wi-Fi. This saves electricity too!

If you don’t mind lowering the quality of the video you stream, that also helps save data. However, if you have a 4K TV, you most likely want to use it. Either way, with your devices working less to give you what you want, you’re saving data and some power.

Save on your energy bill

It’s time to stop asking yourself how to save money on utilities, and start taking action. There are a lot of easy ways to make big changes in your electricity bill, and even save some internet data in the process.

The trick is to turn these small actions into regular habits. Put reminders around your office at the start and in no time it will feel like a routine to unplug energy-hungry devices or check that your computer actually fell asleep when you finally get to walk away for that second cup of coffee.

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Published at Fri, 25 Sep 2020 17:40:01 +0000

10 Things to Know About Living in Omaha

Omaha has been called “America’s best-kept secret,” because you may not know a lot about the city before coming here, but once you’ve been to Omaha, you don’t want to leave. With a world-class zoo, impressive museums and a culinary scene that rivals any city, living in Omaha ranks among the best places in the country.

Plus, when one of the richest people in the world — Warren Buffett — calls Omaha home, you know it must be a good place to be. Here are the top 10 things you need to know about the Big O.

1. Cost of living is much lower than in other cities

Omaha continually ranks as one of the best cities to love economically. While it’s the 40th largest city in the United States, its economy is among the best in the country. The cost of living is about 7 percent less than the national average, which means groceries, utilities, transportation, healthcare, housing and miscellaneous goods will be more affordable.

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Living in Omaha also offers a major rent advantage over other cities. With the national average for a one-bedroom apartment at $1,621, renting an apartment of similar size in Omaha will cost about $945 per month.

With several outstanding neighborhoods to choose from, it may come down to interests or drive time when deciding where to live.

  • Benson is a must-visit district in Omaha. It’s an older neighborhood, but one of the city’s most eclectic, known for its outstanding restaurants, bars, art galleries and unique shops. Rent for a one-bedroom apartment is about $683 a month.
  • The Aksarben area (Nebraska spelled backward) was once home to one of the best horse racetracks in the United States. Men wore suits and women dresses for a visit to the track, placing bets, as some of the best thoroughbreds ran for trophies. Today, it is a mix of business offices, retail, entertainment and college. With newer apartments and condos centrally located among activities, such as the farmers market, rent in Aksarben-Elmwood Park runs about $1,303 a month.
  • With several major companies located in downtown Omaha, the Old Market is a popular destination. The area is home to old architecture that’s been refurbished to house businesses, retail and entertainment venues. Living in the Old Market adds to its charm, where rent for a one-bedroom apartment averages $1,019 a month.

living in omaha omaha aquarium

2. World-class attractions beckon you

Living in Omaha offers a slew of impressive attractions. The Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium annually ranks among the best zoos in the world, including being named the top zoo in the world at least once. With about 130 acres of indoor and outdoor attractions to explore, including the world’s largest indoor desert and the largest indoor rainforest in North America, you can easily spend the day roaming the African Grasslands, with elephants, giraffes and lions, as well as the Asian Highlands, home to animals you’d find in Asia’s jungles and mountains, such as the red panda.

The zoo brings a taste of the Pacific Northwest to Omaha with its Sea Lion Shores, a one-acre exhibit with a 275,000-gallon pool and an underground viewing area, where you can watch sea lions swim and dance in the water.

Peek into Omaha’s history with a visit to Durham Museum, once Omaha’s main train depot with 10,000 visitors passing through during its heyday. Today, the museum features permanent exhibits, such as railroad displays, pioneer and Native American exhibits, as well as special exhibits, such as Pulitzer Prize-winning photos.

Art enthusiasts enjoy visiting Joslyn Museum, with works highlighting the classics, as well as pop culture. With free admission, the museum is a fun way to spend a few hours. An outdoor sculpture garden highlights Midwest history. Kaneko Gallery and Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts feature contemporary art exhibits with a tinge of social commentary.

Nature lovers enjoy the city’s parks, including Zorinsky and Standing Bear, where you can kayak, canoe, hike, run and enjoy fresh air and open spaces. Fontenelle Forest in Bellevue is home to more than 17 miles of hiking trails in what’s considered Omaha’s urban forest. The forest also features Tree Rush, with about a half-dozen ziplines, along with rope obstacle courses.

3. Omaha is a sports event mecca

Who needs professional sports when you have a top-level college basketball team and attract major events? The Creighton Bluejays have long been a popular college team in Omaha, selling out the CHI Health Center Arena Omaha since moving to the 18,000-seat stadium in the early 2000s.

As a member of the Big East, some of the nation’s best teams – including Villanova – take on the Bluejays each season. Creighton annually challenges for the Big East title, winning it during the 2019-20 season, and competes in the NCAA basketball tournament on a regular basis.

Speaking of the NCAA, March Madness often finds its way to Omaha. From opening-round games, featuring powers such as Oregon, to the Midwest Regional featuring Kansas and Duke, Omaha supports college basketball’s championship tournament.

As the home for the College World Series for more than 50 years, Omaha is the destination for all Division 1 baseball teams. The June classic brings the nation’s final eight teams to town for an 11-day event that attracts more than 300,000 fans and millions of TV viewers. The CWS includes fan activities, such as games and attractions, as well as beer gardens and concerts.

American swimmers have competed at the U.S. Swim Trials in Omaha since 2008 for a spot on the United States summer Olympics team. The nationally-televised competition attracts thousands of fans to the CHI Health Center Arena over eight days.

omaha food

4. Omaha’s culinary scene rocks among the best

Featuring several James Beard Foundation-nominated chefs, including Omaha’s only female nominee, the city’s culinary scene challenges the best across the country. From multi-nominee Clayton Chapman’s Grey Plume farm-to-table concept to David Utterbeck’s sushi bar Yoshitomo, Omaha’s chefs challenge your palate.

Au Courant Regional Kitchen in Benson, home to another James Beard nominee, Benjamin Maides, features a “New European” cuisine based on regional ingredients. Jenny Coco, a self-taught chef and James Beard nominee, creates original dishes at J. Coco.

Not to be forgotten are Omaha’s traditional favorites, such as classic steakhouses Cascio’s, Gorat’s and Johnny’s Café. Italian fans will enjoy dinner at Lo Sole Mio, Roma and Malara’s. For a fun dinner, try one of Omaha’s best burgers at Stella’s or Dinker’s.

5. Omaha’s music scene rocks

With major acts, such as Pink, Taylor Swift, Garth Brooks and Elton John, packing the CHI Health Center Arena, Omaha’s music scene is enjoying a run like it’s never had before. Performers, such as Sir Paul McCartney, have signed up to perform before nearly 20,000 fans.

Indie and small venue fans also enjoy catching acts in Omaha. With bands like 311 calling Omaha home, indie musical acts routinely take the stage at the Slowdown, Sokol Auditorium and Waiting Room. Omaha’s recording studios, including Saddle Creek Records, are also known for producing award-winning albums for indie and pop music icons.

6. The local beer scene is amazing

With more than a dozen craft breweries in the Metro area, Omaha’s beer scene picks up from where it left off when the classics — Storz, Metz and Krug — faded into memory. Kros Strain, Pint Nine, Lucky Bucket Brewing Co., Farnam House Brewing and Nebraska Brewing Company turn out amazing beer.

The Old Market’s Brickway adds whiskey, bourbon and rum to its craft beer. Some of the breweries, including Lucky Bucket and Nebraska Brewing, offer tours of their operations before you enjoy a brew in their taprooms.

Soaring Wings Vineyard and Brewing has been growing a variety of grapes in Sarpy County for nearly 20 years, producing award-winning wines since 2004. The winery features local musical acts during the summer, allowing for an enjoyable evening of wine and song. Soaring Wings started its own craft brewery in 2001, adding nine beers to 20 varieties of wine.

7. You can feel safe in Omaha

Omaha’s crime rate is similar to other cities its size. Living in Omaha you can expect pockets of high crime and areas where crime is nearly non-existent. From a high of 50 homicides in 2015, Omaha police have worked to reduce that number by nearly half each year since.

Other violent crimes have dropped about 10 percent since 2017. While most people believe north Omaha has the highest crime rate, it’s not considerably higher than in other areas.

omaha traffic

8. You can get anywhere in 15 minutes

There’s a reason Omaha is nicknamed the “15-minute city.” Truth be known, it’s actually more like 20 minutes. As the city grows and expands its boundaries, commuting becomes more of a challenge, thus resulting in increased traffic times.

With two major interstates running through the Metro, I-29 and I-80, traffic becomes congested during rush hour, which is considered 7-9 a.m. and 4-6 p.m. weekdays. Traffic on the major thoroughfares, both interstate and primary streets – Dodge, Pacific, Maple, and Center – can become parking lots at times when traffic overloads the roadways.

Otherwise, getting around Omaha is easy, with all the main streets running in east-west and north-south grids.

9. Omaha has excellent schools

There are six major school districts making up the Omaha Metro area, and each is highly regarded. The Omaha Public School district is the largest, and the most-challenged physically and financially.

Serving a wide range of students, from poorer sections of the city to the wealthier neighborhoods, OPS faces challenges, such as getting more students to graduate. The district’s seven high schools have a graduation rate ranging from 71 to 84 percent.

With that, the district has been recognized for outstanding academic programs, such as its magnet high schools, which focus on specific courses of study, including Omaha North’s science curriculum.

Suburban districts Elkhorn, Westside and Millard Public Schools rank high in national standings. With graduation rates from 87 to 98 percent, these school systems are considered among the best in the state. Papillion-LaVista and Bellevue school districts each enjoy graduation rates in the mid-90 percent.

10. Summer is festival season

Summer is a great time to live in Omaha due to all of the festivals held each year.

Taste of Omaha celebrates the city’s culinary scene over a three-day period on Memorial Day weekend. Normally held along the riverfront in Heartland of America Park, Taste of Omaha includes musical acts, games and vendors hawking all kinds of wares.

The following week, the Omaha Summer Arts Festival takes over a six-block area of downtown, hosting artists and bands from around the country. The festival season spans the area and runs through mid-July with suburban city celebrations, concerts, food and more.

Living in Omaha

Living in Omaha will exceed your expectations and you’ll soon be talking Omahan and celebrating Nebraska Cornhusker and Creighton wins. You’ll head over to Baxter Arena for an Omaha Mavericks college hockey game.

Dining out, theater and concerts are at your fingertips when living in Omaha. Area apple orchards and pumpkin patches will embrace you in the fall. As you decide where to call home, you can find the neighborhood of your choice here.

Rent prices are based on a rolling weighted average from Apartment Guide and Rent.com’s multifamily rental property inventory of one-bedroom apartments. Data was pulled in September 2020 and goes back for one year. We use a weighted average formula that more accurately represents price availability for each individual unit type and reduces the influence of seasonality on rent prices in specific markets.
The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.

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Published at Thu, 24 Sep 2020 16:23:34 +0000