Saving Electricity in the Office
While it’s most likely that you are conscious of how important it is to save electricity at home to reduce bills and be kind to the environment, how much attention do you pay to decreasing electricity consumption at work? Saving electricity in your office has environmental benefits as well as cost saving ones, and it’s easy to apply many of the same techniques you use at home to your workplace. There are also some extra things you can do that will save employers money and benefit the planet. Here’s a quick guide to saving electricity in the office.
As an employer, you can encourage your employees to dress in clothing suitable for the season so that heating and air conditioning can be controlled accordingly. For example, by wearing layered clothing, employees can adjust to the temperature more easily. Keeping internal temperatures at between 20 and 23 degrees Celsius should mean that it’s comfortable for everyone. If you’re concerned that your offices feel chilly, check the airtightness of spaces where this appears to be a problem, as it could be being caused by draughts. Bear in mind that stuffy offices that are over warm can increase employees’ chances of illness.
Ditch old, energy inefficient equipment for devices with improved performance. High energy ratings will help you reduce electrical consumption and save money in the end. In fact, modern devices can help you save between 50 per cent and 90 per cent of electricity compared to older models. You also need to be aware of energy saving tips for existing equipment, including employing energy saving modes for PCs as well as sleep or hibernation functions when any piece of equipment is not in use for a while. Better still, switch off machines that are not in use or unlikely to be used for some time.
Besides switching off equipment when it’s not being used, pay attention to the lights in your office. Use LEDs where possible and keep them free from dust. When it comes to filling the kettle for a cuppa, remember to boil just as much water as you need. Don’t overfill a kettle, as this wastes a lot of electrical energy, and remember to descale it regularly, so it functions efficiently.
If your office kitchen has a fridge, make sure there is at least a ten-centimetre gap between the wall and the fridge. The gap lets heat flow away much more easily, thus saving electricity. Where possible switch off appliances at the plug when they’re not being used. Although they won’t drain an enormous amount of electricity when plugged in, it all adds up. A good quality microwave oven is more energy efficient than a gas or electric hob.
Installing a smart meter to measure power consumption is a way of establishing which appliances and pieces of equipment are the most energy hungry.
Heating and cooling buildings
Lots of energy expenditure goes into air conditioning and heating, so this is an area where real savings can be made. If your employees are wearing layered clothing and you have checked that rooms are airtight, you should be able to ensure that they are comfortable as well as prevent heat from escaping. Close windows and doors to preserve heat, but open them when it’s warm to minimise air conditioning and to prevent rooms from becoming stuffy.
If you have an energy management system, set timers for air conditioning so that it is programmed to turn on and then off again before people either arrive or leave the building.
Just like at home, turn off lights when you leave a room, an obvious action that is often overlooked in the workplace. Remember that LED bulbs extend the life of standard compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) by up to two and a half times, and five times the life of incandescent bulbs. If you have people who work overtime or on the night shift, you can still set lights to turn off automatically at the end of the normal working day, as a manual override will cater for exceptions. Where you can, make the most of the natural daylight so that the need for artificial lighting is reduced.
It takes electricity to print a document as well as expensive consumables, so it makes sense not to print anything unless a hard copy is essential. It’s easy to share documents electronically these days, so your office should be able to function normally and effectively using appropriate sharing applications. When you must print a document, be sure to use recycled paper and aim to get into the habit of recycling everything that is no longer of use.
Avoid the lift
If you’re on an upper floor and there is a lift, try to take the stairs to get to your office, especially if you have the time and are not in a high-rise building. Not only is this a good way to save energy, but it’s also a great way for you to take more exercise and improve your fitness level.
Smart business owners can reduce their energy consumption by offering incentives to employees. For example, award teams of employees or departments able to make big reductions in energy use. Providing employees with energy saving tips for their home will make them more aware about what they can achieve in the office. Supplying an electricity monitor that they can use on large appliances encourages them to make saving energy a habit both at home as well as at work.
It’s surprising how many people are unaware of how much electricity they waste when they fail to switch off a light or equipment that’s not in use. If you can, go out of your way to adopt good practices in your office workplace and encourage colleagues to do the same. Conserving energy at work can make a big difference to our collective carbon footprint and reducing toxic emissions.