Energy Use in the Workplace
There is a certain amount of negative impact that is simply inherent with doing business these days. It is nearly impossible to run a business of any reasonable size without having at least a small impact on the world. Business is one of the few arenas in which your bottom line and your impact on the environment are intrinsically linked. Using less energy will help you save money in the long run and should be a part of any healthy business strategy. Thankfully, there are many different things that you can do help keep your business running efficiently and in an energy-conscious way.
Have an Energy Audit Done
An energy audit can be a very useful tool in your quest to use less energy. During the audit, a specially trained professional will go through your entire business and identify the major energy vampires you should eliminate. He or she will then provide you with a detailed report of how much energy your business is wasting and steps to remedy the problem. Some people look at hiring an energy auditor as just another expense to be avoided. However, the amount you spend on the audit is often nothing in comparison to what you can save after fixing the problems detailed by the auditor. This is especially true if you are operating out of an old building or using older equipment.
Utilise Window Space
You would likely be astonished to see how much energy is unnecessarily spent on light and heat throughout the year. An open window can often be enough to light and warm up a room without electricity. Even in the winter, a large window in a small to medium-sized office can significantly reduce the need for electric lights. On a sunny day in spring or fall, efficient windows can trap enough solar heat inside your building to either reduce or eliminate your dependence on the thermostat. This will require you to have efficient windows that are of adequate size and orientation to fully capture any available sun.
Upgrade Old Appliances
Every business has at least one appliance that is out of date and wasting lots of electricity. One of the most common energy vampires you will find in a lot of businesses will be old computer monitors. Older monitors use an extremely inefficient cathode ray tube as the centre of their design. Replacing older computer monitors with more efficient LCD monitors will save you quite a lot of money every year. They are much more efficient and are often not that expensive.
Old air conditioners and air purifiers are also well-known energy vampires. You can often save hundreds every year when you switch out old air conditioning units for newer ones. Of course, this will depend on the amount of space your business takes up.
One of the simplest things that you can do to save on energy is to simply use less. Make sure you turn the lights off every time you leave a room. Make sure you keep the central heating thermostat at a low level whenever you can. Unplug your computers and other appliances whenever they are not in use. Electronics still draw power when they are off or in "standby" mode. Print important documents in batches at set times during the day so the printer isn't having to warm up over and over again throughout the day.
At the very least, you should make sure that your appliances are all unplugged when the workday is finished. Most appliances don't need to draw power when they are not actively being used. Unplugging your computers will not cause them to lose any information. The only things that you should never unplug are phones and any clocks that don't automatically reset once they are plugged in.
Other Green Tips
It's worth noting that saving money isn't the only reason for people to be wary of the power they use. Doing the right thing by the environment is also very important. This is why all businesses should have a solid recycling programme for everything from electronic waste to paper waste. Also, talk with your employees about the importance of conserving water. It will both save you money and help to conserve a necessary resource that is dwindling far too quickly.