How To Make Your Office More Energy Efficient
Energy is often a factor in running small and medium businesses that can easily be overlooked, but has a substantial effect in costing and financial management.
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) cites office equipment as one of the fastest-growing electricity uses in commercial buildings in the United States. Moreover, it consumes around 7 percent of the total commercial electric energy of a business. Given this data, commercial energy consumption translates into $1.8 billion in electricity costs to businesses.
Businesses, both commercial and home-based, should take into account energy expenditure and the expenses it entails. They should also adopt energy efficiency policies for a mutually beneficial relationship between the business and the environment.
Listed below are tips to help you be more energy efficient:
Office and General Work Area
Switch off and unplug
This can be the easiest energy-saving tip that everyone can practice. Make it a habit to switch off and unplug.
Any electrical device that will not be used at the end of the day must be shut down properly and unplugged to prevent it from consuming additional and unnecessary power. You and your staff may not be aware, but electrical equipment still use up electrical energy even when in sleep mode. So be sure to always check all office equipment–from computers, laptops, projectors, charging ports–to ensure that they are all shut down properly.
Move from outlet to power strips
Aside from shutting down all office equipment, do not forget to unplug them, too!
All electrical devices continue to expend power despite shutdown. Called the “phantom energy” or “vampire power”, it is the electricity that is used up when devices are switched off but are still plugged anyway. So it is imperative to also make a habit of unplugging all electrics to diminish energy consumption.
To make it easier for you to unplug everything all at once, you might want to consider using power strips so when it is turned off and unplugged, it turns off and unplugs all devices attached to it.
Consider switching from desktops to laptops
Laptops bring convenience to consumers, not only in terms of portability but also in energy efficiency.
Did you know that laptops use up to 80 percent less energy compared to desktops? Laptops only draw around 14 to 25 watts while on and go down to one or two watts during sleep mode, according to a report from energy efficiency think tank Rocky Mountain Institute. For example, writing service Essays Scholaradvisor reduced energy consumption to 50% when giving laptops to writers instead of desktops. Imagine around 40 to 100 watts worth of energy savings from making that switch. This means that businesses can expect savings in their energy costs. Plus, they get to lessen their business’ carbon footprint!
Go for Energy Star
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has made it easier for businesses and consumers alike to make the well-informed choice toward energy efficiency. All one needs to do is look for the Energy Star symbol in a product.
The Energy Star is specifically designed by the U.S. EPA to identify and label products that support energy efficiency and environmental responsibility while ensuring cost effectivity for the consumers at the same time.
Energy Star certified office equipment are installed with power management options that allow the devices to go into low-power “sleep mode” when there is no activity for a specified period.
We have covered so far, means to be energy efficient in your office. But have you considered being energy efficient in the pantry as well? Work may not happen during lunch breaks all the time, but energy efficiency is applicable to any other corner of the office.
Throw out the old refrigerator
The same goes for all other office equipment and pantry appliances that are not energy-efficient. Just because these things still work, it does not mean that they help you and your business be cost-effective. Old models of electronics are not designed to be energy efficient, meaning that they consume more power and charge more costs.
For instance, a newer and smaller model of a refrigerator can only set you back less than a hundred dollars, and costs around $10 in electricity a year. That’s a huge difference from the estimated $300 in electricity used up by the old and huge refrigerator in your office pantry.
Install timers in coffee machines and water coolers.
If your business is not operational 24 hours for the whole week, consider installing plug-in timers for pantry mainstays such as water coolers and coffee machines. Timers can be programmed to indicate when appliances will switch on and off. This is to make sure that such electronics will only be consuming power when in use, thus saving you more money.
Non-electrical Energy Consumption
Lastly, if you think energy efficiency is all about diminishing electrical use, here are a few non-electrical ways of energy conservation.
Maximize use of paper
You may not realize that paper usage also contributes to emissions that may be harmful to the environment. So, be mindful of the volume of paper that you use for work. Think twice when printing out documents, as digital copies may suffice for some. Also, it is advisable to print on both sides of a paper whenever possible.
Go digital for meetings.
Instead of travelling to and from meetings, why not consider holding video conferences? Imagine sitting across your laptop in the convenience of your office as you discuss with your clients. This way, you get to save fuel and maximize your productivity hours.
Laura Buckler is a person who writes what she loves and loves what she writes. In her content, you will find tons of motivating statements and real experiences from the author herself. In addition to writing, Laura is also a freelance teacher. Follow her on twitter.