Your tool shed and energy efficiencyNow that your lawn is officially safe from the ravages of winter weather, it may need some tender love and care. In order to return it to its former green glory, it’s time to break out the tools from the tool shed!

But when was the last time you considered whether the condition of your shed optimized your odd jobs? Better yet, have you thought about how your little shed could be the largest energy oversight in and around your home?

Don’t be a fool with your tools

Tool sheds don’t have to be much more than a wooden closet holding rakes and snow shovels, but some people take these storage spaces very seriously. This includes running at least one wired connection from the house to the shed itself, perhaps more. While this is not a bad idea on its own, certain habits could turn this choice into a huge accidental energy drain. For example, most – if not all – power tools these days either operate with a standard cord connection or a rechargeable battery with a docking station. Unintentionally leaving these devices plugged in over long periods of time is not only dangerous, but tack on expensive electricity costs to your monthly bill. Think about how often you use your shed compared to the rooms in your house. If you left a battery charging in your shed one afternoon last fall when you went out to rake the leaves, you could feasibly be rediscovering it just this week. Depending on the forgotten tool, you could accidentally spike your utility bill. According to the Nebraska Public Power District, a circular saw can cost nearly 17 cents per kilowatt hour. Imagine the price of unintentionally leaving it plugged in for several months.

Use the sun to your advantage

Depending on the size of your shed, it most likely won’t require much in the way of lighting. However, attempting to locate a dropped screw in half light can be a pain in the neck. Given the varied sizes of the equipment and materials in your tool shed, you may need to take a multifaceted approach to your lighting. A skylight will solve most of your problems. So long as you’re not mowing your lawn after sunset, skylights can provide hours of visibility. And since sheds are traditionally on the smaller side, a single window could adequately illuminate the inside. But what about those “dropped screw” incidents when a little more light is necessary? Invest in LED technology you can plug into your outlet. LEDs use less electricity than other bulbs, especially strings of holiday lights.

A tidy shed is an efficient shed

A well-groomed tool shed will also make both of these energy zapping factors shrink even further. A cluttered workbench could obscure your view of a charging power tool battery. Additionally, by cleaning and organizing your workspace, you won’t need to turn on an extra light to find where you placed your lucky screwdriver.