Changing your personal energy habits is tough. Changing your business’s energy habits is even tougher. With targets to meet and employees to keep at maximum productivity, it’s easy to let energy efficiency slip from your top priority into a far less important part of operating your business.
Thankfully, running an energy-efficient business doesn’t need to be challenging or overly time-intensive. These ten tips for a more energy-efficient workplace can be utilized by any type of business, whether it’s a retail store or a production plant.
1. Small office? Use multi-function devices and appliances
Small offices often don’t need separate printers, scanners, and phones. While three separate devices might make your communications slightly more efficient, they will also draw three times as much energy from the electrical socket.
Reduce your energy usage by using multi-function devices that draw just one charge from the electrical system. You’ll also save money buying just one device instead of a separate printer, scanner, and desk phone.
2. Unplug electrical equipment before the weekend
Did you know that your computer could be drawing a charge from the power socket even if it’s switched off? A lot of electrical devices draw ‘phantom power’ from their electrical sockets even when switched off or not in use.
A great way to minimize ‘phantom power’ usage is to switch off and unplug most of your office’s electrical equipment on Friday evening. Keep critical equipment turned on as necessary, but unplug extra computers and printers for great energy savings.
3. Switch computers off at the end of the workday
Many people leave their computers on overnight, often in an effort to avoid the two or three minutes required to boot up in the morning. While computers are far from the biggest electrical offenders, they can still waste power when operational.
Even when your computers are sleeping, they’ll continue to draw electricity from the wall socket. Switch them off – not into ‘sleep’ or ‘power saver’ mode – and try pulling out the plug prior to weekends and holidays.
4. Consider installing an energy-efficient daylighting system
Along with heating and air conditioning systems, lights are one of the biggest users of electricity in the modern workplace. Instead of keeping your lights turned on all day, consider installing a modern, energy-efficient daylighting system.
Small daylighting installations such as skylights and large windows can often make a huge difference to your office, retail store, or warehouse’s lighting requirements.
5. Switch off lights in unused or rarely-used areas
It’s tempting to keep lights on all the time, even in rooms that don’t need to be lit all day. After all, a single light doesn’t cost all that much to run, particularly compared to the total energy bill of a modern office.
This line of thinking is a major reason for the hefty energy bills many businesses are forced to cope with. While a single light won’t make a huge difference, leaving lights on when they don’t need to be used can quickly add up and make a major difference.
Switch lights off when you exit a room, and try to avoid lighting areas that receive a limited amount of foot traffic. You may even want to look at installing a daylighting system or skylight for small storage areas that don’t need to be artificially lit.
6. Use email for memos and reminders, instead of paper
Instead of printing out memos, office documents, and reminders, try storing them on a digital drive or cloud storage system and sending them via email. Email uses very little energy, making it an excellent environmentally friendly option.
7. Replace old office equipment with energy-efficient alternatives
Many businesses can save a lot of money by purchasing new, energy-efficient office and retail store equipment. Computer monitors, photocopiers, air conditioners, and many more common electrical items can rapidly become out of date and inefficient.
By replacing your old workplace equipment, you can substantially reduce your bills, particularly when it comes to energy usage. New equipment is also far less likely to need extensive maintenance or costly repair work.
8. Position computer monitors to minimize sun glare
Many businesses pull down the blinds in the morning and switch on the lights, all in an effort to reduce the glare from sunlight on monitors and television screens. A far better solution is to place computer monitors in locations where the sunlight won’t be an issue, and use natural light to keep your office illuminated.
9. Use energy-efficient, double-glazed windows and skylights
In regions that with toasty summers and cool winters, heating and air conditioning can quickly grow into major business expenses. One of the best ways to reduce your energy bills is to insulate your windows and skylights with double-glazing.
Other options include treating your windows and skylights using UV-protective film or filters, and installing heatproof blinds or curtains. Try to rebuff heat and keep the cold out the natural way and you’ll keep your energy bills as low as possible.
10.Use air conditioning? Keep your windows and doors closed
Retail stores are particularly bad offenders when it comes to leaving large windows and doors open throughout the workday. Open doors allow hot or cool air to enter your workplace, drastically increasing the workload of your heating system.
Try to keep doors and windows closed in order to reduce your energy usage. Many retailers use automatic doors in order to keep heat or cool air trapped inside while still allowing customers to freely enter and exit.