Commercial offices tend to have more equipment than a typical house, and the energy requirements to keep them operating are usually quite high. Identify the biggest energy users in your office and employ tips to make them more energy efficient so you can save money on utilities every month.
- Turn off the lights: In many businesses, some lights remain on 24/7. This is why lighting accounts for more than 35% of most commercial buildings’ electricity bills. While a few select security lights should remain on at night, be sure to turn off all other lights at the end of the day.
- Upgrade your bulbs: To help the lights inside your building consume less energy, upgrade from incandescent bulbs to compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) or light-emitting diodes (LEDs). When you need bright lights in a warehouse setting, metal halides (HIDs) are a good choice. Halogen lights are an efficient option for outdoor security lighting.
- Use timers: Set bathroom and conference room lights on timers so they only turn on when someone enters the room.
- Opt for laptops: The next time you upgrade the computers in your office, switch to laptops. Your employees are bound to love the opportunity to take their work computers home with them for occasional telecommuting, and laptops are much more energy efficient than bulky desktop computers.
- Use power-saver mode: Contrary to popular belief, screen savers actually waste energy by keeping the computer active. Ask employees to disable screen savers and set their computers to power-saver mode instead. This conserves energy while in use and automatically puts the computer to sleep when left idle for a specified amount of time.
- Power down: Ask employees to completely power down their work stations at the end of the day. To make this easy, provide each employee with a power strip to plug their computers, speakers, desk lamps, paper shredders and other electronics into. Then powering down is as simple as flipping the switch on the power strip.
Copiers and Printers
- Establish a central copy room: Commercial copiers and printers consume more energy than you might imagine. Many are left on all day but see little use. To combat wasted energy, establish a central copy room with just enough equipment to meet the office’s copying and printing needs. By networking the central printer, everyone can conveniently print documents when they need to without each office having its own printer.
- Choose Energy Star: When the time comes to upgrade office equipment, choose Energy Star-qualified copiers and printers. These perform the same high-quality job while consuming less energy, often with even more features than standard-efficiency models.
- Use timers: Plug copiers and printers into a timer so they automatically shut off at night and on the weekends when no one’s using them.
Break Room Appliances
- Choose smaller, more efficient versions: It may surprise you to hear, but water coolers and coffeemakers are among an office’s biggest energy hogs. If you own a small business, a smaller, household-model coffeemaker should be sufficient. An Energy Star-qualified water cooler can also save money by operating more efficiently.
- Use timers: To save energy, plug these appliances into timers so they turn off when not needed.
- Get rid of them: If hardly any of your employees utilize the water cooler or coffeemaker, remove these devices to eliminate their operating costs.