Published On: Thu, Sep 3rd, 2015

Smart Ways to Reduce Energy Consumption in the Workplace

There are numerous costs associated with running a business and as any savvy manager or director knows, the best way to improve the bottom line is to cut expenditure. Small businesses need to be very efficient at managing their running costs as their survival depends upon their ability to reduce costs, but even global corporations can benefit from minimizing unnecessary expenditure in the workplace.

photo by photoSteve101 via Flickr

photo by photoSteve101 via Flickr

One area where you can cut costs is your energy bill. By adopting a number of energy saving measures, it should be possible to reduce your bills and make the workplace more energy efficient. Not only is this good for your bottom line – it is also good for the environment. And if your employees regularly fly thousands of miles on business, cutting energy costs in the workplace should go some way towards reducing the business’s carbon footprint.

Assess Power Usage

Different workplaces use different amounts of energy. A large business premises located over multiple floors or buildings is likely to have a high energy bill, and if the premises are open 24/7, the bill will be even higher. However, whatever the size of the business, it is important that you assess the needs of your employees and customers before you implement any cost saving measures. After all, it is one thing to turn the air conditioning down in the office, but quite another to do the same in a showroom – particularly in the middle of a heat-wave.

Perform an Energy Audit

Look at your energy consumption in greater detail. Are there any discernible patterns? For example, if the majority of your employees work 9-5, you may notice sharp spikes in consumption around 9 and midday. Once you are able to get an overview, it should help you draw up a plan to cut costs, but remember: do not implement energy saving measures at the expense of productivity.

Energy Saving Measures

  • Light sensors – Leaving lights on in empty offices is a massive waste of energy. We are all guilty of leaving the light on, especially in offices where people are in and out continually. One way of reducing energy consumption is to install environmental sensors in offices and public spaces. The sensors will switch lights off when nobody is in the room, thus saving energy.
  • Energy efficient light bulbs – swap light bulbs for energy efficient ones. LED technology is a lot greener than the old style bulbs, so you can expect your bulbs to last for years instead of months, so when you have bulbs positioned in inaccessible locations, this is no bad thing.
  • Switch off equipment – Leaving computers and desktop printers on wastes a lot of energy. Obviously some items do need to be left on, but printers, small kitchen appliances, and other general items should be switched off when not in use.
  • Keep control of the office temperature – Operate a central control for air-conditioning and heating units to avoid excess usage and remind employees not to open windows when the air-conditioning is running.
  • Keep the sun out – Many modern offices have large expanses of external glass. This might look fantastic and create a fabulously bright and airy workspace, but in summer it will be unbearably hot and your air-con system will have to work overtime to compensate. Installing reflective sun blinds will help block UV light and keep your offices a bit cooler.
  • Invest in renewable energy – Solar panels generate free, clean energy, and are a good long-term investment.
  • Allow employees to work from home – The fewer people you have working in the office, the lower your energy consumption will be, and because they aren’t driving to the office means it’s good for the environment too.
  • Discourage unnecessary printing – We are all guilty of printing off documents needlessly. Printing unnecessarily is a waste of paper, ink, and energy, so encourage your employees to “go green”. Print only when necessary, and if possible, try and run a paperless office.

Get the Whole Office on Board

The best way to cut energy consumption is to bring everyone on board. By creating awareness of excessive energy consumption and ask employees to come up with innovative ways to reduce their energy usage, you will encourage them to think more about how they can make a difference. If you are able to persuade everyone that making energy savings is good for the business as well as the environment, you should be able to create an energy efficient workplace. And in time this will reduce your energy bills.

Guest Author: Carol Trehearn

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