Businesses and Organizations
Easy Tips for Businesses and Organizations
There are many simple things you can do at your office to save a lot of money on energy costs. Most of them involve simple changes in behavior and technology use.
- Turn off lights (and other equipment) when not in use. High utility costs often include paying for energy that is completely wasted.
- Replace incandescent light bulbs with ENERGY STAR qualified compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), wherever appropriate. CFLs cost about 75% less to operate, and last about 6-10 times longer.
- Install switch plate occupancy sensors in proper locations to automatically turn off lighting when no one is present, and back on when people return. Even good equipment can be installed wrong, so don't install the sensor behind a coat rack, door, bookcase, etc. It must be able to “see” an approaching person’s motion to turn on the light before, or as they enter an unlit area.
- Adjust lighting to your actual needs; use free "daylighting."
- Always buy ENERGY STAR qualified products for your business. The ENERGY STAR mark indicates the most efficient computers, printers, copiers, refrigerators, televisions, windows, thermostats, ceiling fans, and other appliances and equipment.
- Clean refrigerator coils twice a year. Replace door gaskets if a dollar bill easily slips out when closed between the door's seals
- "Tune-up" your heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) system with an annual maintenance contract. Even a new ENERGY STAR qualified HVAC system, like a new car, will decline in performance without regular maintenance. A contract automatically ensures that your HVAC contractor will provide "pre-season" tune-ups before each cooling and heating season. You save energy and money, and your system may last years longer with minimal costs yearly maintenance fees.
- Regularly change (or clean if reusable) HVAC filters every month during peak cooling or heating season. New filters usually only cost a few dollars. Dirty filters cost more to use, overwork the equipment, and result in lower indoor air quality.
- Install a programmable thermostat to automate your HVAC system. This solid-state, electronic device optimizes HVAC operation "24/7" based on your schedule, and can be "overridden" as needed for unscheduled events. So consumers and staff always enter a comfortable facility, this "smart thermostat" can turn on the HVAC one hour before arrival instead of heating or cooling unoccupied space.
- Control direct sun through windows depending on the season and local climate. During cooling season, block direct heat gain from the sun on east, south and west facing windows. Depending on your facility, options such as solar screens, solar films, awnings, and vegetation can help. Over time, trees can attractively shade the facility, and help clean the air. Interior curtains or drapes can help, but it's best to prevent the summer heat from getting past the glass and inside. During heating season, with the sun low in the South, unobstructed southern windows can contribute solar heat gain during the day.
- Use fans. Comfort is a function of temperature, humidity, and air movement. Moving air can make a somewhat higher temperature and/or humidity feel comfortable. Fans can help delay or reduce the need for air conditioning, and a temperature setting of only 3 to 5 degrees higher can feel as comfortable with fans. Each degree of higher temperature can save about 3% on cooling costs. When the temperature outside is more comfortable than inside, a "box fan" in the window, or large "whole facility" fan in the attic can push air out of the facility and pull in comfortable outside air. Fans can improve comfort and save energy year round.
- Schedule a building energy audit.
- Turn lights off in the facility when you leave rooms and especially at night when no one is there.
- If your office building has a roof that may be suitable for photovoltaic (PV) panels, schedule a solar audit to determine the feasibility of generating onsite electricity. The auditor will determine the feasibility as well as provide you with detailed information on local, state and federal rebate and tax credit programs currently available.
- Encourage employees to dress for the weather to reduce the volume of mechanical heat and cooling required.
- Encourage employees to recycle documents and other goods that are discarded from the office.
- For other ideas about how to make your office more “green” aside from energy use, check out this list of ideas
Everyone needs a little extra money and saving on energy costs is a good way to get it.