Energy saving in the office environment

 

 

Energy efficiency is a great way for entrepreneurs to save money and get fast results.  Despite implementing energy-efficient measures can mean a large investment for business, it also brings a great financial return as the cost of energy is usually the third highest cost that affects most businesses[1],[2]. Still, money shouldn't always be the incentive to run an energy-efficient business. Some companies are “increasingly considering” factors such as “customer and employee attraction, greenhouse gas reduction, enhanced reputation, government policy and investor expectations when making investment decisions”[3].

 

Photo: SwitchMyBusiness

 

There are a wealth of measures which can be adopted by small businesses that can reduce consumption. These measures vary depending on which sector your business operates in. Research has shown that small businesses can reduce their energy bill between 18 - 25% simply by installing energy efficient measures2. But the energy transformation required isn’t just about new infrastructure and switching to lower carbon resources – a step change in behaviour is needed at every level of the organisation[4]. This area is often seen to offer the greatest potential for achieving short-term gains in managing energy, but many consider it as a difficult nut to crack. Here we recommend you a list of easy-to-follow measures that will help your startup or SME to reduce costs, cut emissions and increase productivity:

 

  • Retain heat in the buildings by increasing the level of insulation in your office; sealing out draughts in doors, windows and chimneys; and improving the window design, orientation and coverings[5].
  • Maintain your HVAC system. Maintenance of your heating, ventilating and air-conditioning system, including annual tune-ups, regular cleaning and replacing filters, should be done right before peak cooling or heating seasons. New filters usually only cost a few dollars, while dirty filters overwork the equipment and degrade indoor air quality[6].
  • Convert to cloud computing. Replace enterprise hardware and software by converting your office to cloud computing, potentially saving your company $12.3 billion in energy bills, Gigaom says. In terms of carbon emission savings, that’s equivalent to 85.7 million metric tons per year by 2020 and a 38 percent overall reduction in worldwide data center energy use[7].
  • Switch to smart lighting. More than half of energy consumed by commercial buildings is done through heating and lighting the facility. Whereas natural lighting is the most energy efficient way to illuminate your space, switching to LED bulbs is the best solution for artificial lightning. LEDs use much less electricity, produce the same amount of light than incandescent or CFL bulbs and have a longer lifespan. They are the greenest option on the market7, [8].
  • Switch to energy efficient appliances. Everyday home and office products carry energy labels and have been designed to meet minimum energy efficiency standards. By changing to these energy efficient office appliances  you will help your business reduce the  energy consumption and save a good bunch of money in the process[9].
  • Use power strips or unplugged the devices you’re not using. Connected electronics often use “phantom energy,” or energy drawn and used even when the device is switched off. This accounts for around10% of your energy use. Investing in higher-quality power strips with scheduled on/off times and smart power utilization methods is a great first step, but sometimes the simpler route of doing it manualy is just as effective[10].
  • Educate your employees. Investing in A-rated appliances and equipment; using energy-saving light bulbs, insulating your building, and so on are actions that will help your entreprise to save energy. But the biggest wins come from encouraging your people to buy into an energy-saving culture[11]. By informing employees of the cost-saving potentials and offering financial rewards in exchange for reaching benchmarks could help engage your employees into action10.
 
Tip of the day
Switch to cloud computing! Smaller companies reap large benefits like seeing energy reduction by upwards of 90 percent.

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