Going green at the office can help you save some serious green on your energy costs – if you choose the right methods. Some, like the ones mentioned below, are surprisingly simple and highly effective. Keep these in mind and make your move today to reduce energy expenditures in your office.
Let There be Lighter Energy Bills
The lights in your office may be costing your business bigger than you realize. From employees forgetting to turn them off to using inefficient bulbs to raising the ambient temperature in the workplace so that air conditioners have to work even harder to keep things cool, the wrong lights in your workplace create an unnecessary energy burden that’s not good for the planet or your utility bills.
What are your lighting options?
The good news is that you have several opportunities to save when it comes to lighting. The options below offer substantial benefits on their own. The best news, though, is that you can use them in combination with each other for an even greater environmental and money saving impact.
Turn off the Lights
It sounds overly simplistic, but it’s one of the most complained about problems in workplaces and homes throughout the country. Some people simply don’t like to turn off the lights – ever. Whether it’s fear of the dark, expectations of returning that don’t pan out, disinterest, or simply believing it’s someone else’s responsibility to do so, many people leave the lights on in the office every single day.
So, encourage employees to turn the lights off upon leaving their workspaces daily. The more people get in a habit of doing so, the better the odds are that they will begin to do it by wrote. Until then, carry on reminding them.
Take Advantage of Natural Lighting
Through skylights, windows, and even glass doors, it’s possible to take advantage of the sun’s light to light your office – without going the route of solar panels, though that’s certainly an option. After all, the sun offers a free and abundant source of light for the average office. Nothing beats free, right?
Natural light is not only a great source of light, but it can also be used to fend off bouts of seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, during the long winter months when time spent outdoors is limited for many employees.
In order to take advantage of natural lighting, try arranging seating and/or office spaces for employees in areas closest to windows. The more employees by windows the better it is for morale, lower energy bills, and even productivity.
Install Motion-Activated Lighting
The first change you might want to consider is to make the move to motion-activated lighting. These lights turn on when someone enters the office and then turn off after so many minutes of inactivity in the office.
That way, if someone leaves for the evening without turning off the lights, they will automatically turn off in about fifteen minutes. While some claim that office work lends itself to being missed by the lights, the fact is we could all use a little extra movement. Wiggling around in the seat will have the lights back on in a flash with minimal interruption to the workday.
Alternatively, you could place timers on the lights in the office, but then that poses potential problems when employees need to work late. Even if you set up overrides for those occasions, it doesn’t ensure that the lights will be turned off. Motion activation is the better choice of the two.
Choose Your Bulbs Wisely
Today, consumers have more power when it comes to things like light bulbs. While there is more than one energy efficient light bulb on the market today, LED bulbs are the perfect choice for many office environments. The up-front costs may be more than compact fluorescent bulbs, but they outlast the other bulbs by years, put out superior light, and do not produce heat the way CFLs do.
According to Simple Steps, LED light bulbs reduce energy consumption by 85 percent over traditional light bulbs and produce very little heat at all – less than incandescent light bulbs or CFLs.
Upgrade Your Appliances
Appliances are a great way to cost your business big when it comes to energy expenses. There are plenty of small upgrades you can make that will help you save money – in more ways than one on your utilities.
Adopt One-Cup Brewing Systems
These systems help eliminate the waste of water. Think about how many burned pots of coffee have been poured out over the course of a year. Whether you choose a pod system or some other type of brewing system that brews one cup at a time, you’re empowering employees to bring their own favorite brew to work while also eliminating the waste of water and electricity required to brew pots and keep them warm all day while no one is drinking.
Switch to Low Flow Toilets, Faucets, Etc.
Making this simple change will help reduce your water bills company wide. Whether it’s washing hands, washing dishes, flushing toilets, washing linens, or taking showers at the company gym, the money and water conserving potential is huge.
Look for Energy Star Appliances
The Energy Star seal means that appliances meet certain standards when it comes to energy efficiency. Many of these appliances will tell you how much they should cost to operate in an average year with general use. Keep these numbers in mind as you make purchasing decisions concerning your appliances and choose wisely.
Equip Your Office More Efficiently
Office equipment is a necessary part of doing business. Look for equipment that not only sports the Energy Star seal (like the appliances), but also that offers settings for sleep or hibernation so that they do not suck energy all night.
Consider using “smart” power strips that turn themselves off at night. This keeps certain appliances, computers, copy machines, and even televisions from slowly draining energy (sometimes referred to an energy vampires) when the office is closed at night. If you’re not willing to do that, consider assigning someone the responsibility of walking through the office each night to unplug equipment for this very reason.
Change Thermostat Settings after Hours
After-hour settings on the office thermostat do not need to be as comfortable as they are during the work day. Setting them to slightly less comfortable temperatures when no one is scheduled to be in the office can allow you to cut your energy expenses, year-round, by a considerable amount.
Simple, practical steps offer the best options for most business interested in cutting energy costs. These steps all add up to big savings for your business – and for the planet. Try them today to see what a difference they make in your office space and business profits.
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