We all know it’s important to conserve energy, but it may be tough to know where to begin—especially in the office, which requires much more energy day-to-day to keep running than the average household. While it’s impossible to do everything all at once, there are a few simple steps you can take to reduce your energy consumption quickly and significantly—and lower your energy bill!
Below are some strategies that you can easily adopt to make the move to a more energy-friendly workplace:
📌[Tip 1] Improve lighting efficiency
Having the right lighting in your office space can make a huge impact not just on your energy usage, but on your employees’ well-being and productivity. Traditional incandescent bulbs are highly inefficient and only convert a small percentage of the energy they use into light. Opt for LED bulbs, which have a higher lumens-to-watt ratio—in other words, they’re more efficient. You also don’t need to continuously keep overhead lights turned on, which can be quite energy draining. Instead, look into task lights, which illuminate specific workspaces and can eliminate the need for office-wide overhead lighting.
Additionally, if you have great natural light, leverage it! For example, if your office is in Los Angeles where it’s mostly sunny year-round, keep the windows uncovered and turn the lights off when possible.
📌[Tip 2] Use energy-efficient technology
When investing in technology, look to see that it has the Energy Star rating—this rating indicates that a given appliance is up to 20% more energy-efficient than models without the label.
Energy Star-rated appliances come in the form of printers, laptops, monitors, lightbulbs, and more.
📌[Tip 3] Set your thermostat
While your workplace temperature should always be comfortable for employees, you can still take steps to optimize your office’s heating and cooling settings.
For starters, make sure your thermostat is set to turn off during non-working hours.
When you’re in the office, set the thermostat to the energy optimal 68 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter (20 degrees Celsius) and 78 degrees Fahrenheit (25.5 degrees Celsius) in the summer. Unless air conditioning is necessary, opt for fans when possible.
Additionally, take care to make sure that you’re not doubling up on heating or cooling sources: for example, if the thermostat is on heating mode, no one should simultaneously be using a space heater.
📌[Tip 4] Shut off and unplug lights and equipment when not in use
Make sure that your employees remember not just to turn off monitors, laptops, and lights at the end of the workday, but also to unplug them where possible. This can be made easier by using power strips for multiple devices so that your team isn’t stuck at the end of the day unplugging gadgets one by one.
Additionally, have someone in charge of shutting off other office appliances such as toasters, microwaves, coffee makers, etc.—basically, anything that won’t be in use after the end of the workday.
This is an easy, unobtrusive way to significantly reduce your organization’s environmental footprint. (Learn how to get your automated carbon emissions report here)
📌[Tip 5] Encourage sustainable methods of transportation
If any of your employees live near the office, encourage them to walk or bike to work, weather permitting. Otherwise, suggest that your employees’ carpool. You can even incentivise environmentally-friendly modes of transportation by offering parking allowances (if your employees have to pay for parking) or other prizes, such as gift cards.
Ultimately, though moving to a more energy efficient office requires a few tweaks, doing so is a benefit for all: your company saves on cost, reduces its environmental impact, and portrays itself as conscientious and forward-thinking.
Creating an open dialogue with employees about the importance of energy saving practices can make the transition to a more efficient workplace much easier.
Editor’s Note: This original guest article was published here with kind permission from the author, Viveka Krishnaswamy.
Viveka Krishnaswamy is with SquareFoot, a commercial real estate technology firm dedicated to finding the perfect office space for businesses as they evolve. Based in New York City, SquareFoot uses smart tools to aggregate listings throughout the US and Canada.