Through energy-conscious practices, workplaces have the potential to make a big difference on carbon pollution.
- Switch off lights and devices — This is a nice and easy one. At the end of the day, are you able to go around and switch off all of the lights, computers, monitors, fax machines, printers, and other energy consuming appliances? Individually, these appliances may not add significantly to your bill, but having everyone’s machines on every night can very quickly add up.
- Laptops over desktops — Laptops use much less energy than desktops, sometimes as much as 90% less. Laptops have the added convenience of being able to be carried around between meetings and desks. Consider investing in work laptops for your employees.
- Computer efficiency — If you want to know more about how to make your workplace computers more efficient, including tips on energy efficient powerboards, automatic shutdowns, power timers, energy settings, monitors, and screensavers then read our guide on energy efficient computers.
- Motion detectors — Motion detectors are an easy way to save energy. These should be installed in rooms that are used frequently but not constantly such as bathrooms. Motion will trigger the lights to switch on when needed, saving power when no one is around to require it. There are plenty of motion-detecting solutions on the market, and you can learn more about some of them in our guide to smart lighting.
- Blinds and windows — In the early morning and later afternoon when the sun is at an angle to heat the office up, try closing the blinds so the air-conditioner doesn’t have to work so hard. On top of that, light-reducing films can be adhered to the windows to further reduce intense sunlight.
- Service your cooling system — Have your air conditioning or other cooling system looked at and serviced. Have someone clean and replace any parts necessary. This may save you in the long-term.
- Energy Star rating system — Energy Star produces energy efficiency ratings for many appliances, including computers, copiers, printers, faxes, etc. Products are evaluated by third parties to determine their energy efficiency. They are then labelled accordingly. If a product has the energy star label, then it has been deemed more efficient than many other products of its type. Keep an eye out for it. Many appliances, new and old, have energy efficient modes — train staff to operate these modes.
- Substitute lights — Yes, this is a simple and fun way to save energy. Different lights provide vastly different atmospheres around the workplace, and also contribute significantly to employee efficiency. Do a little bit of research. When deciding on lights, try and choose ones between 500 and 1,000 lux — the unit of illumination. You also want flicker-free lighting as this can cause eye strain and migraines. The ‘warmth’ of the light also makes a significant difference to workplace efficiency. Fluorescent lights are the most common lights used in office environments, however, they often have colder lights that reduce efficiency. Check out our guide to choosing the best light bulbs to further illuminate your choice.
- Fridges and freezers — Don’t forget about your office kitchen (if you have one). There are plenty of ways to reduce the power use of your kitchen appliances, and you can find out what they are in our guide to reducing the power use of your fridge and freezer.
- Leaf blowing and other maintenance duties — Wherever possible, minimise wasteful activities such as using leaf blowers or hoses to remove leaf litter and use a broom or manual method instead.
- Thermostat — It is easy to reduce your energy consumption when it comes to heating or cooling the office. You can turn down the temperature by a degree or two in winter and turn it up a degree or two in summer to suit. Since heating and cooling appliances run for long periods of time, their energy saving potential is large. While you’re at it, bring a door snake, or five, to the office to limit how hard your cooling and heating systems have to work.
- Office culture — Make your workplace one that cares about the planet. Instill a sense of significance for each change towards efficiency. It will facilitate changes for the better.
Take action today
And with that, we part ways. We hope you can now keep an ecological eye on your office and all of its inhabitants' energy habits, spotting beneficial changes that we didn’t even mention — make sure to let us know of any tips you have, in our comments.