Cut office costs by saving energy

Cut office costs by saving energy

Air conditioning, heating, lighting, fax and copy machines, printers and computers­ — they all require energy and money to operate. Whether you are an eco-minded employee concerned about the environment or a business owner or manager seeking ways to cut costs, there are many ways to cut energy use at the office. Here is a checklist of energy conservation/efficiency measures to get you started:

Lighting

  • Replace incandescent lights with compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) or light-emitting diodes (LEDs) for desk lamps and overhead lighting. Using CFLs instead of comparable incandescent bulbs can save about 50 percent on your lighting costs. CFLs use only one-fourth the energy and last up to 10 times longer.
  • Use dimmers, motion sensors or occupancy sensors to automatically turn off lighting when not in use to reduce energy use and costs. For example, install motion-activated lighting in bathrooms and storage closets.
  • Turn off lights when you leave at night. (This seems simple, but people often forget to do this quick task. Put a sign up as a reminder to employees and/or the janitor.)
  • Use natural lighting or daylighting. When feasible, turn off lights near windows.
  • Use task lighting to illuminate work areas instead of brightly lighting an entire room.
  • Close or adjust window blinds to block direct sunlight to reduce cooling needs during warm months. Overhangs or exterior window covers are most effective to block sunlight on south-facing windows.
  • In the winter months, open blinds on south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your workspace. At night, close the blinds to reduce heat loss.

Office equipment

  • Unplug equipment that drains energy when not in use (i.e. fans, coffeemakers, desktop printers, radios) or plug equipment into a power strip you can shut off.
  • Replace desktop computers with energy-saving thin clients (a computer or computer program that relies on servers more for traditional computational roles), or switch to laptop computers and docking stations.
  • Replace cathode ray tube (CRT) monitors with LED or liquid crystal display (LCD) monitors.
  • Turn off your computer and monitors at the end of the work day. If you leave your desk for an extended time, turn off your monitor.
  • Turn off the photocopier at night or purchase a new copier with a low standby feature.
  • Purchase printers and fax machines with a power management feature and use it.
  • Coordinate with the vending machine vendor to turn off advertising lights.

More energy management

  • Have a qualified professional perform an energy audit. Check with your electric cooperative for names of auditors.
  • Install devices to track energy use.
  • Install programmable thermostats.
  • Ensure HVAC ductwork is well insulated.

Source: U.S. Department of Energy; Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

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