by Kaitlin Krull for GreenBusinesses.com
Most of us know how to take steps to save energy at home by cutting down on electricity, heating, and water usage. However, keeping our energy use to a minimum at the workplace is just as important. At Modernize, we understand the need to lead an environmentally conscious life both in and out of the home without sacrificing functionality. If you have the power to change the way your workplace’s energy is consumed, here are a few tips to get you started.
Maintaining the temperature in your workplace is often harder than it seems. The struggle to keep equipment at the right temperature while making all your employees happy can be difficult at the best of times, and nearly impossible at others. Consider installing a smart thermostat system such as Nest in your workplace (an automated device that reads, monitors, and remotely controls your environment’s temperature) to save yourself daily trouble. In the meantime, follow basic guidelines such as turning the heating off in the summer, opening windows when possible, and increasing the temperature in any server rooms within their acceptable ranges. Small changes make a huge difference when it comes to temperature control, so a few adjustments should instantly lower your energy output.
For workplaces that make use of multiple electronic devices, hibernation/sleep/energy-saving modes are a technological lifesaver. Make sure you are utilizing these functions during off peak hours and overnight to stop your electricity bills from skyrocketing. Most businesses have multiple computers that can be switched off at night, and smaller appliances such as printers, desk lamps, and other electronics only need to be plugged in when in use. If your business is thinking about reassessing electricity use in general, consider solar power or other alternative energy sources to save energy now and save money in the long run.
There are several quick fixes that will help you automatically save energy on lighting. Switch from tungsten halogen lamps and bulbs to fluorescent or LED energy saving bulbs throughout the workplace. Consider installing motion sensors for lighting in meeting rooms and bathrooms, or have regularly used lights on timers so you don’t forget to turn them off at the end of the day. Probably the easiest change with regards to lighting in the workplace is making use of natural light. Open the blinds in as many windows as possible and let daylight do the job and save your artificial lighting for nighttime and darker days.
If your workplace has a kitchen or canteen area, put up notices reminding employees to turn off taps when not in use and to limit their use if possible. For bathrooms, consider installing dual flush toilets, which use less water for lighter flushes, and faucet aerators to save water in taps. Make sure all taps and pipes are leak-free, as even the smallest leak can waste a significant amount of water over time.
Probably the most important part of energy saving in the workplace is making everyone aware of changes to energy use and how to best implement new practices. Business-wide memos, notices, and labels on lights/taps/thermostats/electronics will remind employees of the changes you are making and how they can save energy on a regular basis. If you need help implementing these changes, your local energy providers and other energy saving organizations will likely have free resources available.