There are many reasons to consider how to make your office more energy efficient, from wanting to help the environment to cutting costs on utility bills. There are numerous simple steps your business can take that can make a real difference in more ways than one.
Here are just a few of our top tips for a greener office environment.
Heating and cooling
In the UK, offices will need to be heated in the winter and often cooled in the summer, but there are several things you can do to maximise the energy efficiency of your climate control system. When it comes to heating, don’t set the thermostat too high – for every degree you increase the temperature, you can expect eight per cent to be added to your heating bill, according to the Carbon Trust.
As heating normally accounts for around half of a company’s energy charges, this can mean big savings. If you are in your own building, make sure your heating system is regularly maintained and that your boiler is properly insulated.
In the summer, you’re likely to need a way of cooling down your office. If installing an air conditioning unit isn’t practical all year round, look into air conditioning rental to see if it’s a cost-effective solution. Using a portable device will mean you only cool the areas where it’s really needed, so you won’t waste energy cooling down rooms or parts of your office that are rarely used.
Obvious as it may sound, one of the best ways to make your lighting greener is to replace old light bulbs with energy-efficient models. These will still give you the same level of illumination, while cutting energy bills. Encourage your staff to turn lights off in rooms they’re not using and to utilise natural, rather than artificial, light whenever possible.
An automated system that switches off lights if movement isn’t recorded for a specified period of time is another option if you don’t want to rely on your staff to turn lights on and off as needed.
Painting the walls in a pale colour will help distribute daylight more effectively in an office, while artificial lights can also be used to balance this out when necessary, as opposed to being the primary light source.
Encouraging good habits
Staff are undoubtedly the key to an energy-efficient office, as their actions can have a significant bearing on energy use at a business. Simple steps like turning off computers overnight, switching monitors off when going for lunch and printing double-sided pages can all make more of a difference than you might imagine.
You should also look at how you can reduce your waste by encouraging employees to communicate via email rather than using faxes, for example, and to avoid printing out unnecessary documents. All these steps can save energy as well as resources.
Invest in the right equipment
Businesses are confronted with so much choice nowadays, it can be hard to know which photocopier, printer or computer to choose. The most important thing is to buy a machine that will cater to your needs, without being overpowered or having functionality you won’t use.
For example, if your office only prints infrequently, select a printer with a slow print speed, as this will mean it uses less energy. Try to encourage your staff to print documents out in batches, thereby allowing the printer to be switched off in between use.
Look out for endorsements such as the Energy Star and Energy Saving Recommended badges, as these indicate devices are more energy-efficient than their counterparts. Choosing an Energy Star printer, for instance, will mean your model uses at least 60 per cent less electricity than comparable models without this label and is designed to automatically enter a lower power setting after it has been idle for a specified period of time.