A garden office - plugging into energy costs

We’ve been asked such a useful question by a customer that we wanted to share the answer with everyone who’s considering choosing a garden office or studio. "How much does it cost to heat and run a timber garden office or studio in terms of lighting, heating and cooling?"

Log Cabin Office

Buildings used as home offices or workshops will tend to have heavier energy use than summerhouses for leisure, so let’s start with these. We know it’s a relatively low-cost option to install a garden office relative to a house extension, and usually much cheaper than renting commercial office space over time, but does its running cost also make a timber garden room a cost efficient choice?

Naturally, it depends on the size of your garden office and its use, but here are some hard figures based on our own log cabin sales office. This is a commercial office housing five permanent staff members plus visitors, and it’s in use ten hours a day, six days a week. We run a kettle, coffee machine, fridge, computers, microwave, several 1.5kw convection heaters and 22 down lighters. 

Over the last four years we’ve used 22,000kWh, so an average of 5,500kWh per year. With an average cost of 10p per kWh, our 40 square metre log cabin office consumes £550 worth of electricity per year.

Log cabin interior

Of course, ours is at the high end of garden office size and energy consumption. If you were to scale our usage down to the average 3m x 4m garden room used as an office, with 44mm solid timber walls with roof and floor insulation, used for 40 hours per week, the estimated energy running cost would be about £165 per annum or £13.75 per month. Not a major item on the balance sheet.

We don’t run heaters all year, we don’t need electricity for cooling, nor do we have high usage for specialist equipment or tools – but our lighting and catering related costs are probably above average, given our showroom-type premises. If you intend to use your garden office less energy intensively, reduce this estimate accordingly.

Here’s hoping this calculation gives you valuable insight into the energy costs of running a garden room. It does remind us that good insulation, double glazing, ventilation and high-spec timber are very worthwhile investments to keep energy costs to a minimum and help create a comfortable, welcoming workspace.

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