Energy Saving Week this year is running between the 17th and 23rd January. The event was created in partnership with Citizens Advice, the Energy Saving Trust and the Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). The aim of the campaign is to encourage households and businesses to save energy while cutting down on fuel costs at the same time.
At Printwaste, we are a Zero to Landfill company with an aim of protecting tomorrow’s future, today so are keen supporters of this campaign. Here are our top 10 tips to help you save energy in the workplace:
Switch off and unplug appliances and electronics when not in use, such as laptops and computers:
Desktop computers have mainly been replaced by laptops and this does have its benefits, such as ease of access. However, this does have its disadvantages, because people become accustomed to leaving them on standby, rather than shutting them down completely. This can add up to countless hours of energy being wasted every year. A single computer and monitor left on 24hrs a day can add an extra £50 per year to your bill.
Switch to energy-saving bulbs:
Many offices struggle with access to natural light, so it is inevitable that artificial light will be needed, especially in the winter months. To reduce your lighting costs, use energy-saving LED bulbs instead of incandescent bulbs. Did you know LED bulbs use 90% less energy than standard lightbulbs? They might also be slightly more expensive, but they do last longer. The amounts you’ll save on your energy costs each year will more than make up for the price of purchase.
Reduce paper waste and only print when necessary:
Photocopiers and printers don’t just use energy; they use paper, too, which is another precious (and costly) resource that both you and the environment could benefit from saving. To reduce paper usage consider switching to online platforms to share documents, such as SharePoint and Google Docs. For those times when you do need to print, ensure that you are then recycling or securely destroying confidential material appropriately. As a zero to landfill operator, we send nothing to landfill and reuse all resources where possible.
Harness the solar power and consider installing solar panels to your office building:
Installing solar panels does have its up-front costs, but in the long term the benefits will far outweigh these. As you create your own energy, you will use less energy from the grid and will enjoy the associated savings. Also, solar power is a completely clean and renewable energy source, with no release of greenhouse gases, so they don’t contribute to our rising air pollution levels. We installed solar panels at our secure shredding facility in 2016 which supplies 50% of the energy we require and gave a 51% reduction in our annual electricity costs.
Compromise and find the perfect temperature for everyone:
It is often said finding a room temperature to suit everyone is impossible. Someone’s always too hot, someone else is always too cold and finding a happy medium can be challenging. The most comfortable room temperature is between 20-23˚C, so try to keep the office between these numbers and compromise with one another. A reduction of just 1 degree could result in an annual saving of 8% off your bill. Also avoid wasting heat, ensure windows and doors are closed to keep the warmth in.
Replace any outdated equipment with energy star appliances:
Do your appliances in the office have good energy efficiency ratings? If they’re sub-standard, you could be using far more energy than necessary. The fridge, for example, is always on, so upgrading to a new, more energy-efficient model can have a significant impact on the amount it costs to run each year. It can be expensive if you need to buy more expensive appliances to be energy efficient, although this could be offset by potentially selling old appliances.
Be more effective in the office kitchen:
Getting in a round of tea and coffee for your team doesn’t just make you look good; it also helps save energy. By boiling the kettle only once to produce five or six beverages, rather than every time individually you’ll save a huge amount of energy throughout the year. Try implementing a rota as this will help save energy, but you’ll also find employees might be a little more productive as they won’t need to leave their work for refreshments as often.
Traveling to work by car is responsible for nearly one-quarter of climate change emissions and general air pollution. Businesses can help reduce the indirect environmental impact of their operations. You could by introducing a cycle to work scheme (which involves a tax-free loan from the government) or travel buddy scheme within your office. Car sharing could halve the cost of petrol from commuting for your employees and could also half the emissions employees emit on their commute. This could result in them having more disposable income, being happier and therefore more productive! Additionally, reducing your business’ carbon emissions can help to boost your reputation.
Install a smart meter in the office:
Smart meters display your gas and electricity usage in real time, so you can see exactly how much you’re spending on your energy. The transparency that smarts meters afford means that they’re becoming more popular than ever in offices. A smart meter has its advantages; having it installed is free, you get accurate estimates, you do not need to submit your readings and you can review your usage.
Conduct an environmental audit:
Review how your waste and recycling is currently handled. Small changes can usually go a long way in their effect on the bottom line, whilst also gaining employee backing and increasing the amount that you do recycle. We typically discover that between 40-50% of items in the general waste can actually be recycled and employees were just unaware. Our solutions can help reduce costs, turn more of your waste into resources, protect your data and, ultimately, help conserve the planet.
It is possible for every business to improve our planet and reduce their carbon footprint, no matter how small. Book an audit with one of the team to see what else we can do for you, from recycling solutions to our environmental consultancy services, with our services we can help your become more environmentally friendly and save energy.