Energy Conservation in the Workplace
One of the most effective ways to save energy is simply educating your employees and building occupants and asking them to help out in the office’s conservation efforts.
Some energy-saving practices may be easier than others to implement in your workplace, but every improvement makes a difference. Here are some simple tips for reducing energy usage:
Heating and Cooling
- Make sure that areas in front of vents are clear of furniture, paper, and other obstructions. Blocked vents can result in as much as a 25% increase in the energy used to distribute air in your office.
- During the winter months, open the blinds during the day to use direct sunlight to make the space warmer. Then close the blinds at the end of the day to reduce heat loss.
- Consider using spot radiant electric heaters, which sometimes provide heat more efficiently in large spaces.
- Encourage employees to dress warmly and in layers for comfort during the winter.
- Encourage employees to turn off lights when they leave their offices and cubicles. Place reminders above light switches in common areas, such as copy rooms, kitchens, conference rooms, and restrooms. Lighting constitutes one of the biggest shares of energy consumption in commercial buildings.
- On bright, sunny days when natural daylight is sufficient, keep the lights off to reduce lighting expenses.
- Turn off lights near windows that provide sufficient light and turn off all lights at night, including lamps and office lights.
- Enable the energy-efficient features on your work computers. Turn off screen savers that use more energy, use sleep mode controls, and create office rules for shutting down on evenings and weekends. (For example, of how much you’ll save, consider that a copier left on all day and night wastes more than $150 annually in energy costs.)
- Purchase ENERGY STAR certified products, which have the highest energy-efficiency ratings. And when making purchasing decisions, remember to factor in the future cost savings of ENERGY STAR products.
- Use on-and-off-switch power strips with laptop AC adapters, battery chargers, and other equipment and appliances. Many products use power even when they are not in use, and that “dormant” time adds up.
- Electronics should be unplugged when not in use because these devices still use power when they’re turned off.
- Assign employees to turn off the photocopiers and other office equipment in each work area at the end of the day.
- In the office kitchen, post signs reminding employees to turn off and unplug coffee makers, toaster ovens, and other small kitchen appliances when they’re not in use, especially at night and over the weekend.
Your office can get started today by forming an energy team to assess possible improvements and help co-workers get involved in reducing energy waste. In addition, find out whether your company qualifies for money-saving incentives and programs and discover more ways to save energy at work.