An average business uses more than 20 percent energy than it needs. High energy costs can negatively affect your business’ bottom line. Energy efficiency is a proven and effective way for you to save money, and create a more productive workplace.
Investing in saving energy does not have to cost a fortune. With these 13 practical and innovative tips, you can cut your energy bill and transform your office.
Many workplaces still use incandescent light bulbs, but they require a lot of power and generate a lot of heat. By replacing older bulbs with energy-efficient light bulbs, such as CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps), or light-emitting diodes (LEDs) you can save energy and money. CFLs are compact fluorescent bulbs, which use three-quarter the energy of old-fashioned bulbs. LEDs have a longer lifespan, and use up to 80 percent less energy without sacrificing power. Energy-efficient light bulbs cost more, but will save you money in the long run.
Identify your light switches
No matter how good our intentions, most of us forget to turn off the lights when we leave a room. One of the ways you can help your employees is by changing your light switches. Use a dimmer switch or an motion sensor wall switch that turns on the light when someone walks into the room, and turns off when they leave. These types of switches keep lights from being left on when not needed, which saves you money and energy.
Using natural light cuts down on costs, and creates a more productive workplace environment. When natural light is available, turn off lights that aren’t needed and dim other lights. Window tint or filters can be used to allow plenty of light in from outside while eliminating glare or harsh light. When the weather is warm, you can reduce cooking costs by opening windows and letting the fresh air in. Daylight harvesting, which uses artificial light to complement natural light provided by skylights and windows, is another option. Studies show that natural light benefits us both physically and psychologically. So, utilizing natural light makes your workplace more efficient and your employees more productive.
Businesses use many electronic devices, such as computers, printers, copiers, along with refrigerators, microwaves, and coffee makers. If plugged in, many of these continue to drain power even if they are not in use. Devices left on overnight, or over the weekend can waste lots of energy. There are energy-saving power strips that automatically switch off when equipment is not in use. Another great option is to install timers that you can program to your specific needs.
Computers consume a substantial amount of energy. You can combat this by making an office rule that all computers should be shut down before leaving for the day. Applying the hibernation mode on your computer allows you to save energy and continue your work from the day before. Look at your computer specifications and see if there are other energy-saving features.
Server room and data centers
For proper functionality, it’s recommended to keep the servers cool. They generate an enormous amount of heat, even in average-size offices. Data equipment can be sensitive to temperature and humidity levels, so finding the right balance is important. Today’s equipment can tolerate higher heat and moisture levels than in the past, with energy-efficient options available to help cut energy usage. Managing the airflow in your data center or server room helps keep temperatures and costs down. Power waste can be decreased by eliminating unused or lightly used machines, and consolidating others.
Thermostat management can save a tremendous amount of energy. It is a good idea to label which specific thermostat connects to each section of your building. This ensure you control the amount of heating and cooling in your office. Changing your thermostat to run 1 degree lower in winter and 1 degree higher in summer can reduce the power used by up to 10 percent.
Don’t overlook exit signs in your quest for energy efficiency. Change their bulbs to LED light bulbs, which use one-tenth of the wattage and last much longer. This will add up, especially since exit signs tend to stay lit at all times.
Heating and Cooling
Heating and cooling your workplace requires a lot of energy and money. Old or outdated equipment can drain energy, so if you are looking to replace things, do so with newer high-efficiency units. If replacing units is not possible, there are still ways to cut down on energy costs. Keep filters clean and replace them regularly. Make sure all surfaces, coils, condensers, and evaporators are kept clean. Repair any leaks you find in the ductwork, pipe fittings, or similar equipments. Following these helpful hints can help your workplace more energy-efficient.
Solar energy is a renewable source of energy that can help move your business into becoming energy-efficient. Installing solar panels are expensive, but within a few years, you will recover your investment. They save you money and energy in the long run and require very little maintenance. Tax credits are available to businesses to offset the cost and encourage investing is solar energy options.
Make sure your workplace is well insulated. Double-glazed windows are one option for insulating your windows, but are only effective during the cooler months. Using high-grade window film can be a better choice. It is effective year-round for cutting energy consumption costs. Businesses can also waste energy due to small leaks or drafts. Make sure that doors, windows, heating and air conditioning units are properly sealed. These steps can help you save energy and lower costs.
If you are ready to purchase new office equipment, then try to look for ENERGY STAR certified products. ENERGY STAR is a cooperative program created by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Department of Energy (DOE). Its goal is to help consumers and businesses alike to be more energy-efficient, which lowers energy costs, preserves natural resources, and helps protect the environment. Products bearing the ENERGY STAR label are the top-performing and most cost-effective products for the home and office. Looking for equipment with the ENERGY STAR label guarantees you are choosing an energy-efficient product.
Depending on the size of your business and its needs, you might want to invest in having an energy audit in your workplace. This type of review compiles information based on the energy demands required for your operation, helping you determine areas where you can reduce your energy use. You can hire energy-audit companies to perform this for you. Many utility companies provide an energy audit program free of charge. Check in your area to find out more.
Don’t procrastinate! Now is the time to start creating an energy-efficient workplace. Set a goal and stick to it. You cannot do it overnight, but these 13 tips will help you incorporate energy-efficient practices and improve your bottom line.
Do you have any great advice on how to make a workplace more energy efficient? Go ahead and share a few in the comments section. We would love to hear from you!