Did you know that your workplace could be using 20% or more energy than it really needs to? From keeping computers in ‘sleep’ mode overnight to using a dirty HVAC system, numerous everyday office habits can inflate your monthly energy bill.
These 10 workplace energy efficiency tips range from ‘common sense’ suggestions that constantly seem to be forgotten to innovative tactics. Try one, two or all 10 to make your office a more energy efficient, environmentally friendly workplace.
Turn off lights in unused rooms
No, you don’t need to keep that storage closet lit all day. Nor does your copy room need four high-wattage light bulbs. One of the easiest ways to reduce your office’s energy consumption is by switching off lights in rarely-used rooms and spaces.
This tactic often falls apart due to human behavior – while we might remember to turn lights off for a day or two, we quickly revert to old habits. Prevent relapse by installing motion sensors in storage closets that automatically switch off lights.
Warm day? Open the windows
If there’s a cool breeze outside, why are you relying on air conditioning? Although this tactic isn’t possible in large offices due to the sheer square footage that you’ll need to cool, opening a window is a great way to cool a small office environment.
The next time you’re sweating inside on a hot afternoon, try switching off the air conditioner and opening a window or two. In an industrial setting, try opening a rolling door (as long as it’s safe to do so) for a calming and comfortable breeze.
Unplug unused electrical devices
From photocopiers to espresso machines, a lot of electrical devices draw a charge from the power outlet even when they’re not in use. Reduce your bill by switching them off and unplugging them when they aren’t being used for business.
Turn off computers overnight
That ‘sleep’ setting on your computer doesn’t actually put the whole system to sleep – it just stops the hard drive and other core components from working. Many of the computer’s most power-hungry components remain active even when it’s ‘asleep.’
Avoid wasting energy on an idle computer terminal (or 100) by making it a policy to switch off computers overnight. Aside from vital computers like server racks, you’re also best off unplugging workstations overnight to reduce passive power usage.
Buy Energy Star electrical products
Does your office’s electric equipment have the Energy Star mark of approval? This blue service mark is an international standard for energy efficient electronics, and it’s a great indicator that your appliances and hardware aren’t power hogs.
Look for the Energy Star logo on the packaging of any computer hardware or other equipment you buy for your business. Remember that even Energy Star equipment isn’t perfect – just like anything else, unplug it when it isn’t in use to save energy.
Use daylight harvesting effectively
Daylight harvesting is the use of artificial light to complement natural daylight from windows and skylights. A god daylight harvesting system can keep your workplace constantly lit throughout the workday at a fraction of the typical energy cost.
Does your business use energy efficient daylighting? If not, consider investing in a daylighting system, paired with light sensors and energy efficient artificial lighting, to create a workplace that’s perfectly lit and environmentally friendly.
Carpool to reduce carbon output
Does your entire team commute to work individually? If your business is located far from public transportation, consider starting an office carpool to cut down on your carbon output and reduce commute costs for your team.
Use email for memos and faxes
Not only does printing every office memo or alert waste paper; it also wastes a huge amount of energy. Printers use a lot of energy, and even a few hundred pages can be enough to put a serious dent in your power bill.
Whenever possible, use email to keep your team notified about new policies, recent updates and business news. Instead of printing faxes manually, use an online service to manage your inbound and outbound faxes to reduce your office’s paper usage.
Keep your HVAC system clean
Whether you’re cooling your workplace down at the peak of summer or keeping it warm in the middle of winter, an unclean HVAC system not only spreads dust and dirt throughout your office; it also costs you a lot in wasted electricity.
Air conditioners and heating systems work at maximum efficiency when clean and regularly serviced. Keep your HVAC system up to scratch with regular servicing to remove dust and debris and make smooth airflow the norm.
Make energy efficiency a habit
Small changes to your printing policy, office lighting and air conditioning usage can make a big difference to your energy consumption if you make them habits. Instead of being energy efficient for a week, make it a workplace goal to use less electricity.
From reminder notes on your office fridge to a workplace code of electrical conduct, try to make energy efficiency a habit for your business. From lower bills to a better environmental conscience, the benefits for your business are numerous.