1.) Turn Off Lights and Equipment When Not in Use
It’s not everyday that you get such a simple solution to a complex problem, but this tip has withstood the test of time and remains one of the easiest, most direct ways you can save on your energy bills. How many offices have you been to that have had empty computer stations lit up just in case they’re going to be used? Shutting down computers and other appliances while not in use can have an enormous impact over time. Also, consider using a power strip to cut off the power when the devices are turned off because many devices still draw small amounts of power when turned off.
2.) Replace Incandescent Light Bulbs
By switching out your old incandescent lights and replacing them with halogen bulbs, compact fluorescent lamps, or Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) your business can use up to 80 percent less energy and these new bulbs can last 25 times longer. With some upfront spending, long-term savings can help big time in the future of your business.
3.) Install Occupancy Sensors to Automatically Turn Off Lights
This tip can make noticeable differences in energy consumption in no time. Every office could benefit from occupancy sensing light switches because the areas that see little use won’t be using power all day and it also saves employees the hassle of searching for light switches in the dark. Another perk of this tip is the increased peace of mind since you no longer must worry about whether or not someone left the lights on at the office overnight or through the weekend.
4.) Use Available Sunlight When Possible to Light a Room, But Also, Be Prepared to Limit or Control Sunlight When AC is in Use
Make the best possible use of your natural lighting to illuminate your office for free. Using natural light has some other perks besides free lighting. For example, natural lighting has been linked to increased productivity in the workplace and has a positive effect on the health of your employees. Less sick days and improved performance while working will reap any business a more profitable workforce. It goes without saying that in the summer months too much sunlight can cost you quite a bit of money because of your air conditioning, so making do with less natural lighting is a must. Through using blinds, screens, or window film, you can limit the heat transfer and still make use of some of the natural lighting without running up the bills. Another point worth mentioning is that during the winter months, its recommended to keep windows on the south side of your building unobstructed during the day to make use of natural heating and lighting but be sure to pull the blinds down again at the end of the day to reduce heat loss.
5.) Speaking of AC, Regularly Tune-up Your HVAC Units and Change Filters When Necessary
Its important to have your AC and heating systems running as efficiently as possible to keep efficiency high during peak use. Ignoring your heating and cooling systems can increase the cost to keep your office comfortable as well as damage your systems, which can be a very expensive fix. The relative low cost of replacing your filter when necessary and maintaining the insulation of the systems will undoubtedly save your business from a terrible hassle should the HVAC system break down, as well as significant savings should these systems require frequent fixing.
6.) Install Programmable Thermostats to Limit Use to Peak Hours
Having your system maintain the same temperature all day seems simple enough but to do so when the office has an increased occupancy, like during peak business hours, can push the system to its limits and increase the energy bill drastically. Installing programmable thermostats can allow the system to focus on “hot spots” that require the increased power without increasing the use throughout the remainder of the office. This will help your employees, your customers, and your energy bill. By focusing these systems on customer facing areas of the office you can ensure your clients remain comfortable. Similarly, by not pumping AC or heat through the rest of the office, the employees remain more comfortable. Both of these will not just save you money on your energy bills, but they also have the potential to increase revenues by having clients happy to be at your business and your employees left with fewer distractions.
7.) Replace Desktop Computers With Notebook Computers and Docking Stations to Conserve Energy
Those older tower computers often draw several times more power than a laptop, in some cases even when not in use or powered down. Although desktop computers often cost less upfront, the long-term energy expense will end up wiping away any difference and then some. Laptop computers bring the benefit of energy savings as well as several other factors, such as work on the road or from a client. Docking stations for the laptops offer a quick way to set up multiple screens to work on and extra ports for other devices. With the combination of the laptop and docking station you have all the benefits of a desktop, without the high energy consumption.
8.) Buy Energy Star Equipment
Energy Star is a trusted label on products that meet strict energy efficiency requirements set by the EPA. These products range from microwaves to copiers, and have all been third party certified to meet energy conservation goals set by the EPA. What all this means for you is that you will be saving money on your energy bills from day one, because they’re, on average, forty percent more efficient while in use. With the energy star certification, machines, like copiers, automatically go into low power mode after a set period, also reducing energy consumption.
9.) Consider Renewable Energy
Renewable energy sources are always an avenue worth pursuing if the upfront costs can be absorbed. The high expense of installation will pay off in the long run if you expect to remain in the same building. In fact, with incentives, savings, and payments, an $18,000 (the average cost of installing residentially) investment in solar energy would pay for itself in four years, while increasing the value of your building.
10.) Educate Your Employees/ Get Employees Invested
An important step in maintaining an energy efficient work place is to get your employees on board. Educate and encourage employees to remain conscience of energy savings and get them involved. Don’t be afraid to make a committee responsible for setting goals and proposing ways to save even more in the future. It will help get everyone on board if they’re involved with the process from the beginning.
John Carpeneto, MBA
John is a member of Cerini & Associates’ tax staff which provides services across a variety of industries including healthcare, construction, retail, manufacturing, service, and technology.