Did you know that small businesses in the U.S altogether spend a mind-boggling $60 billion per year just on energy expenses? After all the costs of maintaining and upholding your business, you shouldn’t have to spend such a hefty amount just on energy. There are many steps you can take to reduce your energy consumption without affecting your work ambiance or surroundings. In fact, these steps may even help protect our environment.
- Purchase Energy Star Appliances
Every office requires certain equipment like ceiling fans, air conditioners, computers, printers and so on to function properly. Though we can’t simply stop using these devices, we can easily prevent the amount of energy they consumed with a few simple steps. Products with an ENERGY STAR rating are built to consume a lesser amount of energy (almost 50% less!) while working efficiently, making these a great choice for your office.
- Use Laptops Instead of Desktops
If you are buying new equipment, it is recommended to buy a laptop computer instead of a desktop computer. Though energy consumption may vary in different models, desktops usually require 80% more energy than laptops. As laptops use a battery power system, you can easily upgrade to a larger battery to save even more energy while maintaining high functionality. When left unused, take advantage of your computer’s sleep mode in order to reduce energy consumption.
- Turn Off Your Equipment When They Are Not In Use
Many people tend to just leave their appliances and equipment on all the time. This not only shortens their durability, but also wastes a great deal of energy as you end up paying for extra electricity. It’s a better idea to just turn off all your equipment and unplug all appliances when they are not in use.
- Utilize Natural Lighting
Did you know that medical studies show that exposure to daylight helps increase productivity, boosts the production of Vitamin D, fights depression, improves workplace satisfaction, and indirectly reduces hospital stay durations? Instead of leaving your office lights switched on during the day, try utilizing as much natural light as possible. Especially if your office has a lot of windows.There are many ways to maximize your use of natural light while ensuring that your office remains comfortable and well illuminated. Find the angles where sunlight enters and design your workplace accordingly. Place blinds carefully to filter daylight. Add plants to your workspace, and if possible, use skylights, sloped ceilings, and shading devices. Use solar screens or solar films to maintain your office’s cool atmosphere.
- Use The Right Kind Of Light Bulbs
Lighting contributes up to 25% of your entire energy usage. Instead of using typical incandescent lighting in your office, turn to energy efficient LED bulbs or ENERGY STAR qualified fluorescent lamps. LED bulbs use up to 80% less energy than incandescent lights and last up to 25 times longer. On the other hand, ENERGY STAR qualified fluorescent lamps use around 75% less energy and last 10 times longer than ordinary luminous bulbs. They operate on very little energy, so you could easily power them with your limited solar power electricity, reducing your energy costs. Currently, due to these bulbs’ distinct advantages regarding energy consumption, incandescent lighting options have pretty much become obsolete. They may be a little costly initially, but they will positively impact your bills in the long run.To put it simply, turn lights off when you’re not using them. There is a widespread misguided theory that if you turn lights off, the energy required to turn it back on is equal to the energy consumed when the bulb is on for around 15 minutes. This is completely false and invalid. But even if it were true, turning off unused lights would still save a great deal of money. Especially LED lights, which require no extra energy when turned back on. But in case you do forget to turn lights off, you could use motion or infrared sensors in your workplace. These sensors will automatically shut lights off when no one is around, and turn lights on as soon as they sense motion or heat. If sensors are too expensive, you could also opt for dimmable lights. During the day, ensure that all outdoor lights are turned off.
- Cut Down On Driving Trips As Much As Possible
While it doesn’t have to do with in-office energy, there are many ways to conserve on gas consumption as well to cut down your expenses. You’d be surprised how many businesses with travel expenses don’t take advantage of these simple conservation techniques. For one, try using a cheap gas locator. There are plenty of services that provide a list of the cheapest gas prices available as well as their addresses.This may sound like a given, but if you are traveling long distances, be sure to plan out the shortest route available. Consider using bikes, motorbikes or scooters instead of cars, and if your business delivers to consumers (i.e. food/grocery companies), consider limiting the distance for free delivery.
- Invest In Efficient HVAC
Almost half your energy expenses go towards heating and cooling your office. So the first step to saving energy here is to ensure that your office is well insulated. Identify any inefficiencies, such as cracks, drafty windows and doors, and seal them with stripping and caulking. HVAC equipment generally loses its durability if not maintained, so be sure to tune up your systems at least once per year with an HVAC contract. Change and clean your air filters regularly, as dust and other particles can get trapped in them. Buy a programmable thermostat, which will analyze your usage and control the temperature accordingly. These are accessible from your phone, making it convenient and simple to regulate your office temperature.
Try using fans instead of air conditioning, when possible. Fans move the air around, making heat and humidity easier to endure.
- A Few Additional Tips
- Sometimes the government offers tax incentives if you use energy saving appliances to reduce your energy expenses. Make sure to take advantage of opportunities like this.
- Many companies offer free audit programs to help you ascertain your energy usage. Have your space audited to determine where you are losing the most money.
- Set your office water heaters to low temperatures, if possible. Use hot water shrewdly.
- Defrost your office refrigerators regularly.
- Use solar panels to reduce your energy expenses significantly.
Though you may not notice any initial difference in your bills from reducing your energy usage, it will have a great impact in the long run. Saving energy isn’t just a one-week incentive; it takes time and patience. The more dedicated you are, the more money you will save.