Leveraging Energy Management for Water Conservation
Lighting fixtures are another opportunity for cash savings. Old lighting fixtures trapped light for aesthetic reasons.
Newer fixtures push light out into rooms thanks to brighter reflectors and better geometry. Better lighting in outdoor areas around your business adds safety and can entice more customers. When lighting outdoor spaces, you can benefit from the ultimate cost saver: solar lighting. Solar lights are simple to install and should work with minimal upkeep. Two things to keep in mind:. Ensure the outdoor area gets enough daily sunlight to support your needs.
Check the sensors periodically for cleanliness — accumulated dirt and grime can block the panels from getting the solar energy they need. You wouldn't turn down free money, and electric light costs money.
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So why would you turn down free light from the sun? Modern buildings with larger windows let in more light, and smart business owners take advantage of incorporating natural light into their workspaces. Since you can't know every employee's lighting preference or inspect every nook and cranny of the office and the sun isn't always in the same place, either , involve your employees.
Ask them for their ideas for using natural, free light, instead of turning to artificial light, which saps your bottom line. You and your employees do the best work at a comfortable temperature, and maintaining that temperature comes at a cost. New technology and simple common sense can lower it. In a perfect world, your building would have all of the innovative technology in today's greenest buildings.
Energy Management Systems
If you can't convince your landlord to put in a vertical garden wall , consider these next tips. The latest wireless technology makes it easier to maintain a constant temperature in your workspaces. Smart thermostats are like an employee you're paying to minimize heating costs, but keep in mind more basic tech can help lower your costs as well. A simple fan doesn't need much energy to push cooler air toward employees who need it. Fans make us feel cooler, even if the actual temperature doesn't change.
Rather than paying for expensive air conditioning, see if you can get by with this low-tech option, and encourage employees to speak up if they'd like a fan. The simple step of installing blinds, awnings, shades and other window coverings can keep employees comfortable. Blinds absorb the heat so your employees don't. According to the Department of Energy, blinds can reduce heat gain by as much as 80 percent. You'll maximize your investment in window coverings if you talk to a professional who can help you understand the best options for window treatments based on the orientation of your building and the local climate.
In colder climates, blinds can help retain heat, or they can be lowered so the natural heat of sunlight helps heat parts of your office space. Blinds and awnings block sunlight that shines into your building, but strategically placed trees can provide welcome shade. Trees will beautify your space and keep your heating bill down. Different trees do better in different areas. Consult a local landscape expert to get the best bang for your buck. In Hawaii, Hawaiian or aloha shirts are standard business attire. Residents of the 50th state made the sensible decision to eschew shirts, ties, and jackets that caused discomfort and inhibited productivity.
You can allow your employees to make the same choice and reap the benefits of a lower electricity bill. For every 1 degree you raise your thermostat, you increase your energy savings by 2 to 3 percent. Another way to involve your employees is to ask them to check for defective weatherstripping around windows or doors or sources of other leaks around their desks. They may find gaps in your insulation that are costing you hundreds of dollars. The equipment you run is probably responsible for your biggest energy costs. The Department of Energy, though, makes it easy to find the most efficient options with their Energy Star program.
In specialized industries, conducting an energy audit can uncover opportunities to save even more with newer equipment. We're talking here about all the little devices that use electricity: the coffee maker, the washing machine, the refrigerator. Your competitors may be using more energy-efficient versions and seeing more profits as a result. For energy efficiency, laptops are almost always a better choice than desktops. Laptops are designed for maximum power efficiency; they run on battery power, but they also tend to have fewer high-end components like video cards that suck power.
If you're replacing desktop computers, consider whether your employees could do just as well with less energy-intensive laptops. Look for laptops that have an Energy Star rating , which is the government designation that tells you a product is a leader in energy efficiency. Did you know that battery chargers continue to draw power, even when they aren't charging a device? Just one battery charger isn't costing you much money, but every employee with a charger plugged in for the occasional smartphone top up?
That adds up fast. So, too, does the cost of operating screens in screensaver mode which doesn't actually save any energy. Again, involve your employees.
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Ask them to identify where the slow drips of electricity waste in your company are occurring. Many energy-saving efforts will please your employees.
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What's not to like about a new coffee maker or wearing lighter clothes on hot days? Employees will like these measures even more when you communicate that they save money, which makes the company — and their jobs — more stable.
We've already suggested a few opportunities for engaging your employees in your energy-conservation efforts. Instead of making one-time changes, consider a longer-term solution that engages employees. Josh Prigge, a sustainability consultant , advises business owners to establish a cross-functional "green team" of employees who meet monthly to devise new ways of saving energy. Green teams can improve retention, job satisfaction, and overall company communication by bringing people together from different departments.
Use smaller, more efficient equipment, such as microwaves and kettles, where appropriate. Fully load the dishwasher to save water and energy. Insulate the tank, pipe work and fittings to reduce heat loss. Ensure storage systems are well sheltered, as this will protect pilot lights from draughts.
Locate the system as close as possible to the point of use. Manage fridge stock levels, load stock in batches and turn off when not required Reduce heat intrusion by maintaining door seals and limiting door openings. Keep evaporators clean and ice free. Keep condensers clean, locate them in cool places and maximise air circulation above them.
Keep doors closed where possible to prevent cool or warm air from escaping. Keep blinds shut during hot periods to prevent heat from getting in. Remind employees to dress appropriately for the season. Maintain equipment properly to ensure your heating and cooling systems operate efficiently. Investigate improving insulation, or retrofitting double-glazing, window tinting and reflective coating for your building. Use energy efficient lighting and avoid using electrical equipment that generates heat.
Locate heat-generating equipment outside the building. Reduce unnecessary lighting. Dim lights where possible. Use natural light where available. Ensure lamps are properly maintained for the right level of lighting.
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Arrange appropriate lighting levels for specific tasks, for example, you will not require as much light in a corridor as you would at a workstation. Select the right lamp and luminaire fittings to save energy costs and reduce ongoing maintenance and replacement costs. Install fluorescent lights.