These days, it’s almost impossible to turn on the TV, open a magazine or go online without running across tips on how to conserve energy at home. But what about in the workplace? Think about it: you’re in business to make money, but the more you spend on utilities, the less you take home at the end of the day – not to mention the effect that all of that power consumption has on the environment. So take advantage of our energy saving tips, which were put together with businesses in mind. Who knows? They may just save the planet and your bottom line.
Swap out regular light switches for dimmers.
Lighting can be a significant power waster, especially in offices and other places of business, where overhead lights blaze from 9 to 5… and beyond. Using dimmers to lower light levels, even slightly, not only conserves energy and cuts down on electric bills, but also extends the lifespan of your light bulbs. Dimming lights by just 10% results in a barely-perceptible change to the human eye, but can double the life expectancy of light bulbs.
Get occupancy sensors to turn off the lights even when you’re employees don’t.
People are always forgetting to turn the lights off at home, so why would they remember to at work? While you should always urge employees and coworkers to turn off the lights when leaving a room or going home for the night, you can guarantee that that actually happens with a simple little device called an occupancy sensor. Otherwise know as motion detectors, these energy-saving wonders can turn the lights on when they sense movement in a room, and shut them off when they don’t.
Plug into smart surge protectors.
Ever heard of vampire electronics? They’re devices that continue to draw small amounts of power even when they’re not in use, and offices are full of them. Think computer monitors, printers, speakers, and anything else that goes into standby mode, or displays a glowing LED even when turned off. Having employees power down computers before calling it a day can help to reduce electricity use, but what about the vampire peripherals that stay up all night and continue to suck power while you sleep?
Enter the Power-Saving Surge Arrest, a type of environmentally-friendly PDU that provides surge protection for your computer and peripherals while they’re in use during the day, and then intuitively cuts power to peripherals as soon as it detects that the main device, your computer, has been shut down.
Run outdoor lights on timers.
Whether you need to worry more about trip-and-fall accidents or break-ins, adequate outdoor lighting is crucial to the safety of your employees and premises. This is especially true for retail stores, restaurants, and any other facility that has a back door that’s used for deliveries and trash removal, or as an exit after dark. But outdoor lights have a habit of being left on far after the sun comes up – a practice that wastes both electricity and money.
To make sure that security lights are on when they’re needed but not wasting energy, connect then to an outdoor photocell-equipped timer. Because they’re able to sense ambient light levels, these timers can switch outdoor lights on at sunset, and shut them off as soon as daylight returns.
Use window films to help lower cooling costs.
If your business is located somewhere that has a hot, sunny climate, UV-filtering tinted window films can help to greatly cut down on cooling costs. By reducing the amount of intense sunlight that enters through your building’s windows, you automatically keep interior temperature from rising, so the air conditioner won’t have to kick on so often, or run for as long when it does.
Take advantage of natural light.
Even though sunlight can sometimes have the unwanted effect of raising temperatures in your facility, you can also turn it into a natural advantage. Having an office or shop that is flooded with natural light can reduce the amount of electricity that’s needed to power artificial lighting. And lots of sunlight during winter months can cut down on heating costs, too.
Switch to energy efficient light fixtures.
Many businesses already use overhead fluorescent lighting, but if you’re still using incandescent or halogen bulbs in lamps and specialty fixtures, it’s time to make a change. Switching to compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) not only lowers your electricity bill, but also reduces the number of light bulbs you’ll buy, thanks to the fact that they last an average of 8-15 times longer than a standard incandescent bulb.
Check the caulk and weather stripping on doors and windows.
One of the simplest ways to increase the energy efficiency of your business is to make sure that all of your facility’s windows and doors are well-caulked and equipped with weather stripping. By covering up air-leaking cracks and gaps, you can reduce heating and air conditioning needs by ensuring that warm air stays in during the winter, and out during the summer.
Produce your own power.
If your business is located in a larger facility that can accommodate a solar panel setup on the roof, then you may want to consider producing your own power. While solar panels typically involve a significant startup investment, they can greatly reduce, or even eliminate, your dependence upon the utility company. As a matter of fact, you may even be able to make money from them! Standalone solar panel systems store excess energy in a battery, but if you opt for a grid-connected system, you can actually sell excess electricity back to your local utility company.