Becoming more energy efficient doesn’t necessarily have to mean installing brand new insulation and daylighting or moving into a new building. While these things have huge benefits, they’re not the only way to reduce your energy consumption.
Energy efficiency improvements can be separated into two distinct categories. The first is structural changes – changes to your business workplace that result in large energy savings and an improved environmental record.
The second is habitual changes. These are changes to your habits – or, if you’re an organization, changes to your team’s habits – that allow you to reduce your energy consumption without changing the environment you work in.
In this blog post, we’ll cover the second type of energy efficiency change – habits that you can form which massively reduce the amount of energy you, your team, your business or your organization uses on a day-to-day basis.
Some of these behavioral changes are incredibly simple, but don’t let that fool you into thinking they’re not effective. Sometimes the smallest changes can make the biggest difference, especially when it comes to helping the environment.
Keep heat inside your workplace
It’s the middle of December and your office is starting to get cool. The temptation is to make very few changes to your habits and simply turn up the thermostat, giving you a warmer workplace and none of the downsides of a typical winter.
This strategy is simple, but it’s massively energy inefficient. Instead of turning up the thermostat and hoping for the best, make changes to your office to make sure the heat you already have stays inside your office.
This means closing doors, shutting windows, installing lined curtains to keep heat inside the office and more. Small behavioral changes can often keep heat inside the office to a greater extent than even the most effective HVAC system could.
Stick to a consistent temperature
Using your workplace’s heating system doesn’t necessarily use a large amount of energy, but only if it’s used properly. Changing your thermostat behavior can cut down your energy consumption significantly, especially during winter.
Instead of constantly adjusting your thermostat throughout the day, set your office temperature in the morning and make no adjustments during the workday. Select a moderate heat level that suits everyone – not a level that’s too hot or too cool.
Heating and air conditioning systems work their hardest when they’re adjusting to a large difference in temperature. Setting them to a consistent temperature – whether it’s warm or cool – uses relatively little energy in the long term.
Switch off and unplug appliances and technology
Computers, printers, copiers, projectors, televisions and more can all draw a large amount of energy from the socket even when unused. Worse yet, the consumption often continues even if they’re switched off.
Reduce your appliance-related energy consumption using two strategies: buying Energy Star appliances, which use less energy than others, and by unplugging any electrical devices you aren’t actively using.
A great way to implement this is by making switching off and unplugging an end-of-day office activity. Ask all of your team members to switch off their computers and unplug them at the end of the day, instead of leaving them on standby overnight.
Add plants and greenery to your workplace
Adding plants to your workplace won’t reduce your energy consumption, but it will result in fresher air, more focused employees and a significantly more comfortable place to work.
From small potted plants to ferns and other stylish natural life, adding a few plants to your office or retail space has a huge positive effect on employee motivation and health. It also makes your workplace far more comfortable.
Better yet, having green life around you puts you in a green mood, and encourages your entire staff to take energy efficiency seriously. After all, what better source of motivation for eco-friendliness is there than working in a natural environment?
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