Everyone needs to take a part in energy conservation. Energy conservation does not stop with the average homeowner. Small business owners can also take steps to conserve energy. In fact, small businesses tend to use a significant amount of energy on a daily basis It is important for them to take steps to reduce their energy usage whenever and wherever they can. Following are some simple ways for small business owners to operate energy efficient offices.
Switch to laptops
Laptop computers give users the same access to the Internet as they get with desktops. Laptops can also be equipped with the same software and process information just as quickly as desktops. However, laptops use about 80% less energy than a desktop does. Simply switching out all of the desktop computers in the office with laptops can bring an immediate energy savings to the business.
Set sleep modes on all appliances
Most major office appliances, such as fax machines and printers, come with “power save” or “sleep” modes. These modes make it possible for the machines to go idle after several minutes of non-use. Office machines that can go idle when they are not being used can use 70% less energy than if they remained fully-powered. Newer equipment is likely to have this feature installed and operational. Older equipment might need to have the featured enabled before it can function.
Shut down at night
Shutting down equipment at the end of the workday is an important step in conserving both energy and money. It takes just seconds to do and can add up significantly over the course of a year.
Use power strips
There are many pieces of electronic equipment in an office that use “phantom energy”. This means they continue to use electricity even after they have been turned off. The best way to combat this unnecessary use of power is by using power strips. By clustering equipment that can be turned on and off at the same time onto one strip, turning several machines on and off requires the flip of just one switch. Once the power strip is turned off for the night, the phantom energy will no longer be wasted.
Keep refrigerators small and new
One of the perks of working for a small business is the family-like feeling everyone has. One way a small business owner can achieve this feeling is by providing a refrigerator in which employees can keep their lunches, snacks, and beverages. Employers often make the mistake of supplying a full-sized fridge that ends up being mostly empty. Refrigerators of this nature can cost the business over hundreds of dollars a year in energy costs. Having a smaller and newer fridge can reduce the cost to under $100. Employers should aim for a refrigerator that was made after 2001 to achieve the most savings.
Buy Energy Star-qualified products
Products with the Energy Star designation are recognized by the government as being energy-wise choices. This designation helps consumers make choices that save money on both the long and short term. Energy Star appliances use at least 20% less energy than standard models. Also, they have built-in power-save modes, so there is no need to set them manually.
Use plug-in timers for other appliances
Appliances, such as water coolers and coffee machines, that need to maintain a specific water temperature should be equipped with timers. The timers can be set to turn off when no one is in the office to use them. They can also be turned on shortly before the office opens for the day, so the water is at its optimal temperature when employees arrive at the beginning of the workday.
Adjust the lighting
When an office has insufficient lighting, it can waste a lot of energy and money. Small businesses can save energy and money by using Energy Star designated lighting products. Other ways they can save energy on their lighting include installing bi-level switches, occupancy sensors and daylight sensors as well as dimming the lights.
Responsible heating and cooling
Inefficient temperature control of the office is often to blame for wasted energy. Maintaining an efficient temperature control system can ease the stress on the environment as well as the company checkbook. Some ways to assure the temperature controls system is working properly include changing the filters regularly, tuning-up the HVAC system annually, installing a programmable thermostat and sealing heating and cooling ducts.
Saving energy is important for any small business owner. Taking a few small steps can help business owners in Colorado save energy without having to make a great effort. Schedule a commercial audit and work with a local professional to find out easy ways to save energy and help cut your utility bills.
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