Wondering how to save energy at the office?
Look around your office. How old are your computers and printers? Is the refrigerator in your break room from 1972? Is the air conditioning on full blast during the summer?
People are becoming more and more conscious that their workplaces are wasting energy. Older buildings may not use power and retain heat or cold air as well as newer ones. Older equipment may not be as energy-efficient. A large workforce that drives to work creates a lot of air pollution.
Improving the environmental standards at your job doesn’t have to be a difficult process. By using some quick, low-cost improvements and committing to implementing others, you can start to help our environment and shrink your carbon footprint at work. And remember, while there may be some sticker shock over buying new, energy-efficient equipment, they’ll save money in energy costs over time.
Here’s a short list of steps towards greening your workplace:
Create a Green Taskforce
By appointing some folks to audit your office’s energy use, you empower fellow workers to see where your workplace could shore up its environmental impact and suggest changes. You can also come up with a plan with targets and goals to meet over time, to make sure you’re focusing on the long-term, as well as the short-term, in your environmental plans.
Take Public Transit or Carpool
Public transit is a great, low-cost way to get to work and it’s more energy-efficient. Where that isn’t feasible, see if you can carpool with some friends at work. Encourage your coworkers by posting public transportation maps or creating a ride share message board. See if there are any subsidies your workplace can apply for to encourage public transit use. Some companies pay your way when you use public transit to commute. See this IRS guide for more information on how companies can provide Transportation (Commuting) Benefits.
Install Solar Window Film or Screens
This is a great low-cost option to reduce heating and cooling bills. Solar screens and film can block UV rays and reduce the amount of heat that is transmitted through windows. If you don’t have the funds available to replace old windows outright, solar screens and film can be a great temporary fix.
Buy Energy Star-Certified Electronics and Appliances
Old machines cost more money to run. Ones that have been certified with the EPA’s Energy Star label use less energy. If you’re considering replacing servers, computers, or other office equipment, you should check out Energy Star’s product listings , to see how they stand up to the competition. Again, after a possibly larger initial investment, energy-efficient products save money over time.
Choose Renewable Power
Utility companies are investing in and building renewable power sources. Some companies give you the option of receiving some or all of your energy from wind and solar power sources. Renewables have a smaller environmental impact than fossil fuels, such as coal or liquid natural gas.
When distributing reports or memos, think about keeping it electronic. Paperless documents in formats that are compressed and spread via the internet are becoming much more common and communications via a Blackberry or an iPhone are becoming ubiquitous. Industrial paper production requires plantation farming, logging, milling and transportation. All of these require the use of fossil fuels. You can cut them out by going paperless.
Evaluate Your Lighting
Switch to energy-efficient, longer-lasting compact fluorescent or LED light bulbs. Incandescent light is easier on the eyes, but they use a lot more energy. Many offices have had fluorescent lights all along, but you may have incandescent bulbs in your break room or restroom. If your office has always used fluorescent lights, you can tell people you were an industrial leader in this regard!
Business travel via airplane and car is a major contributor to global pollution that contributes to climate change. With the rise of e-conferencing software and speedier, more reliable Internet connections, it’s never been easier to connect with partners and clients without leaving home. If you have to travel, think about offsetting your carbon expenditure for the flight. More airlines are giving passengers the option to do this and groups such as Climate Care, have led the way in carbon offsetting. Car rental companies are now offering hybrid vehicles for rent, so you could go that route, too.
What do they do at your workplace to save energy? Leave a comment and share!