Did you know that installing new insulation, investing in a programmable thermostat, and replacing old and worn-out weatherstrips are just a few of the many ways you can improve energy efficiency not just at your home, but also at your workplace? And you get the same benefits — a reduction in both your energy use and the monthly electric bill. Not to mention that saving electricity anywhere is good for the environment. Let’s look at a few strategies you can put into play or suggest at your place of business.
1. Turn off the Lights
Have you ever noticed that many office buildings seem to remain illuminated all night, long after the last person has left? The persistent rumor that it’s more efficient to leave the lights on is untrue, disregard it. Most businesses leave the lights on for security, to let customers know their location, or simply because someone forgot to turn them off. Establish a policy so the last person to leave is tasked with hitting the switch. If the habit won’t stick, install occupancy sensors. They’re motion-activated so if nobody is there, the lights go out.
2. Upgrade the Lights
This might require communication with your building’s facilities manager but it’s a good conversation to have. Replace any incandescent lights with compact fluorescent lamps, instead. Add a dimming system to make them even more efficient. And you know the “EXIT” signs? If you have older incandescent fixtures, upgrade them to new, more efficient LED units. They use ten percent of the same electricity and last up to fifty years longer.
3. Shut Down the Computers
At the end of the workday, have everyone shut down their computers. This can be a tough one for people to get in the habit of doing, especially if they tend to leave a lot of windows open on their computer to resume work the next day, but it’s worth it. Think about how many computers are in your office, now multiply that by the number of hours every day when nobody is there, and multiply that by 365 days in the year. That’s a lot of wasted electricity. It’s also a huge opportunity to save. Make it a policy to shut the computers down at the end of each day, or on the weekends at absolute minimum.
4. Upgrade to Energy Star Appliances
Appliances? At work? Yep, if you have a break-room you probably at least have a refrigerator and possibly a stove, dishwasher, water-cooler, and potentially a lot more. Some companies even have laundry facilities. All of these present an opportunity to conserve electricity, and it’s easy. All you have to do when it’s time to make a purchase or replacement is to look for Energy Star appliances. It’s not a brand but rather a government-backed symbol to let you know the units use less electricity — anywhere from 10% to 50% — than conventional units.
5. Maintain the HVAC System
Just like at home, heating and cooling is a major use of electricity for any business. Everyone’s ability to participate in this tip will be a bit different, but, to the extent that you’re able to maintain and optimize your HVAC system, do it. Have the coolant charged, have the ductwork cleaned, replace the filters — all of it. Obviously, if you own the building, some of these items are easier than if you’re leasing the 43rd floor of a skyscraper. Check with your building facilities manager to find out what you’re able to do.
6. Install Window Coverings
Installing blinds or other window coverings is one of the easiest and most organic ways to reduce the strain on your HVAC system and save electricity. Depending on insulation and other factors, up to 30% of heating energy can be lost through the windows. Even more, sunlight that comes through the windows turns into heat. Blinds, shades, screens, and curtains are a low-cost way to improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling situation by double-digits.
7. Switch to a Reliable, Competitively Priced Provider
You can take all the steps in the world to use less electricity, but if you’re paying too much to begin with, then you’re wasting your time and leaving a lot of money on the table. Before you roll out any new initiatives, compare what you’re paying now to what you could be paying with a different provider like Energy Texas. Our service is reliable and backed by second-to-none service and support, and, unlike a lot of electricity providers, our commercial rate plans are fairly priced. See what you could save just by switching.
Get the Team On Board
Attempts to save energy at the workplace will be most successful when everyone is engaged and helps out, so get your entire team involved! Roll out a campaign to reduce the company’s electricity use. Come up with a slogan, solicit ideas, set a goal and consider attaching an award or prize. Perhaps a lunch or fun outing paid for with a percentage of the money saved? Make it an exercise in team building and see what ideas everyone beyond the ones listed here can be implemented to make your impact even greater. You might be surprised just how far you can go when the efforts are multiplied with teamwork.