Lighting is typically the biggest energy expense for offices and small retailers. Install energy efficient compact fluorescent lamps (CFL), which provide the same lighting level and a warmer, more-comfortable lighting colour than standard incandescent light bulbs at a fraction of the cost. Because standard incandescent lights throw off more heat, switching to CFL’s also reduces cooling needs.
Install new high efficiency T8 and T5 fluorescent tubes which last longer (up to 16 years), cast attractive lighting colour and need less maintenance than standard T12 lamps. The new ballasts for the T8s and T5s – electronic instead of magnetic – make the system more efficient and best of all eliminate the annoying hum and flicker.
Install occupancy sensors and dimmers in break rooms, restrooms and conference rooms which can reduce lighting costs up to 40%.
Use a desk lamp with a compact fluorescent instead of your overhead fluorescent lighting. This will also allow you to tailor the quality of light to your particular needs.
Turn off lights in occasionally used areas such as kitchens, washrooms and meeting rooms.
Consider three-way lamps. They make it easier to keep lighting levels low when bright light is not necessary.
Replace your exit lights with upgraded energy efficient models.
If you decorate your business with lights for holidays, consider replacing them with LED lights which can result in an 85% reduction in energy costs.
Install a programmable thermostat to automatically control temperature settings and save 10 to 70% on heating and cooling costs.
In the summer, set the thermostat in your workspace to 25°C during work hours and raise the setting to 28°C when the space is unoccupied. Every degree of cooling increases energy use by 4 to 5%.
In winter, set the thermostat to 20°C when the work place is occupied and 17°C after business hours.
Perform regular maintenance to keep heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems running more efficiently. Maintenance activities can save up to 30% of fan energy and up to 10% of space conditioning energy use.
Install energy efficient ceiling fans. A standard fan costs less than $1/month to operate while a central air conditioning unit can cost up to $178/month. Air movement can cool a room by up to 4 degrees.
Implement a dress code for warm weather. Allow employees to dress comfortably for warmer temperatures. Suit jackets and coats may not be necessary.
Install window film, solar screens or awnings on south and west facing windows.
Install humidity control systems in large walk in refrigerators to reduce temperatures by 2 to 4 degrees.
Close window blinds to shade your space from direct sunlight.
Adjust workplace schedules to reduce energy use during the day-time hours when there is the most demand for electricity.
Rearranging office configurations can maximize the use of available daylight in your office and save on your electricity bill.
Activate energy savings modes in photocopiers and printers when not in use.
If you can, use the stairs instead of taking an elevator – it not only saves energy, it’s good exercise.
Review documents on screen – do you really need to print it? Do you really need to print something 20 times? Can people share?
Use a hand tool or implement (e.g., a manual pencil sharpener) if an electric alternative isn’t really needed.
Dripping taps can waste 9,000 litres of hot water each year. Replace leaky washers and save the hot water for when you really need it!
The simplest way to see results is to train colleagues on energy saving tips such as temperature control or using natural lighting when available, and they can apply the knowledge at work and at home. Also, they may have additional suggestions to help save energy in your business.
Understand what equipment is using the most energy in your business. Find out what equipment could be disconnected at certain times.
Determine if your equipment is energy efficient. If it is over 5 to 10 years old, chances are there is more efficient equipment on the market that could save you enough energy for you to afford the replacement in a very short payback period.
Replace old stand alone air conditioning units with energy efficient models and save up to 30% on your energy cost for air conditioning.
If buying computers, consider laptops instead of desktops and buy ENERGY STAR qualified units.
Fight phantom electricity consumption: Unplug electronics if you’re away from work for an extended period of time – or anytime you’re not actively using them.
Screensavers don’t save energy: turning off computers and monitors through a power bar does.
A rechargeable appliance consumes while waiting; if you don’t intend to use it soon, unplug it for a spell.
Turn on the energy-saver option on your computer.
Consider using ink-jet printers which consume less energy than laser printers.
Use energy smart power strips that sense when equipment is not in use.
Electronics consume more energy if you leave them running instead of turning them on and off. Be sure to turn equipment, computers, monitors, photocopiers and appliances off when they are not in use.