Considering that the average person spends around 2,000 hours a year in the workplace, around 23% of your time, it’s not surprising that more focus is being put on energy efficiency within the workplace. As anxieties grow around global warming and climate change, it’s down to us to do as much as possible towards reducing the negative effects of our daily activity on the environment. Although saving energy in your home is also extremely important, the average medium sized business uses on average between 30,000 – 50,000 kWh of electricity per year, which is at least 10 times more than the average UK home, meaning it is perhaps even more important to clamp down on workplace energy usage.
Not only is reducing energy usage in your office great for your expenditure, but it is also fantastic for PR. Being a green company today can boost your public image and increase your customer trust. According to a Nielsen study in 2015, 72% of young adults aged between 15 – 20 said that they would be more likely to pay more for products and services that were not harmful to the environment. But just how are you supposed to reduce your carbon impact? Here’s 11 ideas on how you can reduce your energy costs right now:
- Reduce reliance on printing
Reducing the amount that your office relies on printed documentation could save your company a huge amount of money in a variety of ways. Not only do paper and ink cost a huge amount, but the level to which printers drain electricity may surprise you. According to studies , an average office printer in the UK is likely to cost around £312 in electricity bills over the year, which means if you have 20 printers in your office, that’s £6,240 a year just on powering your printers, aside from the paper and ink.
- Make sure computers are switched off
At the end of the day, when nobody is going to use their computers for at least 12 hours, it makes sense to switch off, as standby costs are not only an unnecessary addition to your expenditure, but it is irresponsible energy wastage. If you have one desktop computer switched on standby for an average of 18 hours a day, this will cost you around £25 for the year, which if you have 100 computers in the office all doing the same, will add £2,500 onto your energy bill. Just by switching off your computers, you could save massive amounts of money for zero effort.
- Make bathrooms more energy efficient
One of the ways in which you can save money in your office bathrooms is by upgrading the hand drying facilities that you have installed at present. Paper towels are innately bad for the environment and cost way too much for their basic function. The average medium size company is likely to spend around £2000 per year just on paper towels, but switching to a more energy efficient hand dryer will not only cost less up front than a few months’ paper towels, but its low running costs will save you a serious amount of money in the long run.
Another way that you can save money in your workplace bathrooms is by reducing the amount of water you use in the flushing process. Installing urinals in male toilets when possible and switching to flush efficient toilets in cubicles could save you hundreds of pounds per year on water costs.
- Motion controlled rooms for lighting
Installing motion sensor technology in rooms that are patchily occupied could save you a lot of money in lighting costs by reducing the amount of time lights are left on for nobody’s benefit. It is estimated that lighting represents around a quarter of the typical office electricity bill, which is way higher than it needs to be. It is often the case that lights are left on all day when nobody at all is using the room, which could be resolved by motion detector lighting.
- Switch your light bulbs to LEDs
Most older homes and offices will still be installed with an older style of light bulb such as incandescents. Little do most people realise that just by having this kind of light bulb, they are using an extremely high amount of electricity in comparison to what they could be using. By switching your lighting fixtures to LED or CFL light bulbs you’d be using roughly 75% less electricity through lighting and thus saving a huge amount of money on your bills.
- Optimise your thermostat
During winter and summer, when temperatures are uncomfortable on either extreme, those who set the thermostat will often overcompensate and overdo the amount by which they need to alter the room temperature. As such, it’s not uncommon to see people wearing jumpers in summer and rolling up their sleeves in winter. The optimum room temperature for a comfortable working day is said to be between 20-21°C, so keeping it as so could save you.
- Move your servers to the cloud
This might not sound like such a good idea if you work in IT, but moving to the cloud will drastically reduce electricity costs and the need for physical attention from IT professionals. Although you are technically still paying for IT staff on the side of the provider, the costs are much cheaper than if you were to carry this out in-house. On the energy side, having huge amounts of hardware on the go 24 hours a day, sucking up a massive amounts of power, needing to be cooled constantly, is not good for your electricity bills. Switching this to the cloud could be a huge money saver and less hassle in the long run.
- No more screensavers
It’s inevitable that we’re going to leave our desks from time to time throughout the day and forget to put our computers in sleep mode, but having it use a screensaver for when this happens uses far too much electricity than what is needed. Configuring your computer’s settings so it automatically goes into hibernation or sleep mode after x amount of time could really help save little amounts of money that add up.
- Make sure your office is properly insulated
It’s possible that you may not have any authority to change the insulation in your building, but if you do, this could save you large amounts on heating and cooling costs. Having poor insulation means overusing your heating and air conditioning units, costing you much more money than you need to be spending to keep your building at a reasonable temperature.
- Ensure all white goods are efficient
Not just white goods, but make sure that when you are purchasing appliances and devices for your office that they are rated highly on whatever energy efficiency system that they abide to. Having energy efficient appliances, such as fridges for your staff rooms, could really make a difference to your electricity bill considering that they are generally switched on for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- Set your water cooler on a timer
Using timed plugs sockets or buying water coolers that have a timer setting can help you prevent electricity costs for keeping your water hot and cold during all hours of the day. Keeping your water ice cold throughout working hours is perfectly fine, as that is what is designed to do, but what happens when everyone goes home? Who are you keeping that water cool for? Perhaps someone will drop by the office at 3am? Rather unlikely, I’m sure you’ll agree!