Advice and News •
Are you looking for clever energy saving ideas for your office? Building a more energy-efficient workplace is more than just a smart financial decision. Making it a mission to improve your workplace’s sustainability can even lift your employees’ morale.
Today, many businesses are making it a priority to consider how to reduce energy consumption in business. Thankfully, with a little planning and commitment, there are lots of ways to conserve energy in the workplace — both to save money and reduce your business’ impact on the environment. Whether you’re a small business or a large company, there are lots of changes you can make to reduce your carbon footprint and lower your company’s electricity bills, from lighting to air conditioning, recycling to shutting down your computers. Here are our favourite (effective) energy and resource conservation techniques for the office.
Ways To Conserve Energy In The Workplace
Energy Saving Idea #1: Computers and Electrical Equipment
All modern businesses rely strongly on computers and technology, so this should be your first port of call when it comes to cutting energy costs. To decrease the costs of running your electrical equipment:
- Invest in energy-efficient electronic devices. When buying devices and fixtures, look for the Energy Star label to use at least two-thirds less energy.
- Consider using laptops instead of desktops throughout the office, as these typically use up to 80 per cent less electricity than a traditional desktop.
- Choose an inkjet printer instead of a laser printer, as these consume 90% less energy than a laser printer.
- Energy-efficient appliances, such as air conditioning units with a high energy star rating and that are designed for your specific space needs, may cost a little more upfront but will prove much more cost-effective in the long run.
- Buy smaller computer monitors. By using a monitor that is just five centimetres smaller, you can reduce your monitor’s consumption by up to 30%.
- Create a policy to help ensure all computers and office equipment are turned off and unplugged when not in use, including overnight and on weekends.
- Use energy saving features on all devices.
- Use a power strip to disconnect the power supply. Even when an electronic device is turned off, if they are plugged in, they will use a small amount of electricity.
- Consider equipping your office with smart power strips, which automatically switch off electronic devices when they’re not in use.
- Turn off your monitor when it’s not in use, instead of relying on the screensaver.
Energy Saving Idea #2: Lighting
Since lighting costs make up about 50% of the average business’ energy bill, this should be one of your first priorities, along with regularly having your air conditioner serviced to keep it working efficiently. To keep your lighting costs down:
- Remove excess fluorescent lights and install reflectors.
- Choose energy efficient light bulbs. Replace your desk lamps’ incandescent bulbs with Energy Star-qualified compact fluorescent light bulbs. These use about 75 per cent less energy than incandescent bulbs for the same lighting output (about $50 in energy costs and half a tonne of greenhouse gas emissions with every bulb) and last up to 10 times longer.
- Where possible, embrace natural light in your office and switch off artificial lights. Install windows and skylights so that you can use natural light instead of artificial lights.
- Keep bulbs and light fixtures clean. Aim to clean dusty diffusers and lamps every 6-12 months. Removing dust can increase your lights’ output.
- Always switch off lights and signs not needed for security and safety when you leave the office, bathroom or a meeting room.
- Substitute incandescent or fluorescent exit signs with long-lasting, low-energy LED exit signs.
- Where possible, install motion sensor switches on lights in infrequently-used rooms such as bathrooms and copy rooms.
- Buy lighting fixtures with a dimmer that lets you manually adjust the intensity of the light in a room.
- Rewire your restroom fans to operate when the lights turn on.
- Install an energy management system (EMS) to control your lighting and HVAC unit automatically.
Energy Saving Idea #3: Energy Audit
An energy audit is the best way to gauge your workplace’s current energy efficiency and identify ways to improve. This way, you’ll know whether you’re consuming too much energy or the perfect amount to sustain your business. We recommend performing multiple energy audits to track your progress over time and make sure your energy saving efforts are paying off.
Energy Saving Idea #4: Heating and Air Conditioning
Making sure your air conditioning and heating is working at optimal efficiency with regular servicing will keep your energy usage down. Here are some suggestions to keep your air conditioner and heating working in peak condition:
- Invest in an energy management system to figure out the optimal running times for your air conditioner.
- Install timers or programmable thermostats to maximise the efficiency of your air conditioning.
- Keep your room area temperature set to 18°C during winter and 25°C during the summer.
- Replace your old heating, ventilation or air conditioning system with a new, energy-efficient system designed to suit your office’s space.
- Perform regular maintenance on units including checking ducts and pipe insulation for damage.
- Close outside doors to contain the air conditioning inside.
- Install blinds or solar screen shades to cool your workplace.
- Close these shades during early morning and late evening to reduce heat gain from the sun.
- Plant trees outside your office windows for shade.
- Since it can take up to 25 more energy to pump air through blocked air vents, keep your vents clear of papers and office supplies.
- Clean your air conditioner’s condenser coils and replace filters regularly so your unit doesn’t have to work harder than necessary.
- Install a locked cover on your thermostat to maintain a steady temperature and prevent employees from tampering with the settings.
- Create an after hours and weekend thermostat setting to conserve more energy during these hours.
- Reflective window tinting, internal blinds and external awnings on south-west facing windows will reduce heat in the summer.
- Install ceiling and wall insulation.
Energy Saving Idea #5: Promote Sustainability In The Workplace
Creating an organisational culture that embraces sustainability is crucial to helping your business reach its energy efficiency goals. Making your workplace as environmentally-friendly as possible is a shared effort. Here are some ideas to make your sustainable workplace policies transparent and easy to follow:
- Promote sustainability in the workplace with meetings where you discuss your sustainability goals
- Set daily reminders for employees to ‘shut down’ their electronics when their workday ends
- Design a quarterly recognition program for employees who champion sustainability
- Share sustainability successes to celebrate your employees’ individual efforts
- Design sustainability challenges where departments compete against each other to save the most energy
- Print attractive posters that clearly outline your company’s sustainability goals and place them around the office
- Set up a ‘Sustainability Corner’ on your company’s intranet
- When your energy audit is completed, send a summary of the results to employees to increase transparency
- Encourage creative brainstorming by hosting a ‘green fair’ in a conference room and invite different departments to talk about their sustainability initiatives
- Place small stickers on computers reminding people to turn them off when not in use
For all your air conditioning needs across Queensland, get in touch with H&H today on (3052