Cut costs and help the planet by implementing our practical tips to reduce energy waste across your office - from lighting to heating to staff engagement.
By Making Moves LondonOctober 14, 2023
Most of us know how to save energy at home, however when it comes to making the office more economical, we seem to forget our good habits. For this year’s Big Energy Saving Week, we thought we’d give you a whole list of quick and easy ways you can make a significant impact on saving energy office-wide.
Not only will these tips help you contribute to a greener planet, but they also bring with them the cost-saving benefits that come with having a more energy-efficient workplace.
So, keep on reading for our list of energy-saving ideas in the workplace and how to put them into action. With a mixture of quick wins and long-term solutions, these tips can help kick-start your journey to becoming an eco-friendly office.
This one might seem obvious, but there is more to saving energy than just switching off the lights. Lighting accounts for 20% of all energy consumption in the UK. For businesses, this can be as much as 35% of total electricity expenditure.
A simple switch from traditional incandescent or fluorescent light bulbs to LED lights can not only help the well-being in your office (research shows that they’re the closest alternative to natural light) but they also help the environment. This is because LEDs use significantly less electricity whilst also lasting longer than traditional bulbs. LED lights are also 100% more recyclable than other bulbs and therefore have 4 times less environmental impact.
Another quick lighting change is the addition of occupancy sensors. These little devices are designed to detect the presence of a person, and switch off if there is no one there, similar to motion sensors. A great little hack for those times you accidentally leave all the lights on and is particularly handy for rooms that are not in constant use – such as toilets and hallways.
The final lighting tip is sunlight. Not a quick change, but it’s definitely a worthwhile one. Ensuring your workplace has plenty of sunlight to illuminate the space is one of the best ways you can save energy in the office. Positioning desks and workstations near windows to take advantage of the natural light will reduce the need for artificial light during the day. If you’re not interested in cutting out huge portions of your walls to make extra windows, then the best option is to find a new office.
The temperature of the office is always one of the biggest debates. It’s always either too hot, or too cold. But did you know turning the thermostat down by just 1°C saves 8% in heating costs, not to mention the CO2 emissions spared. Sorry warm-blooded colleagues.
Whatever temperature you decide to keep your workplace at, make sure you have an efficient thermostat that reads the room’s temperature, and avoids wasting energy. Some thermostats can even be programmed to automatically adjust based on when people are going to be in the office – lowering the temperature during evenings, weekends, and holidays for example.
In addition, ensure your building is insulated appropriately to stop heat from escaping unnecessarily. Inspect doors and windows for drafts and seal any gaps with weatherstripping or caulking.
Another easy way to save energy in the office is by powering off everything that doesn’t need to be left on overnight. Even if your computer is performing necessary updates, switching off the monitor can help. Up to two thirds of a computer’s energy is actually used by the screen itself. To put that into context, leaving a computer screen on for just one night uses enough energy to microwave six dinners.
Therefore, switching off any unused devices is one of the easiest energy saving ideas in the workplace – getting you one step closer to becoming an energy efficient office.
Not just for the office, cycling is a brilliant way to save energy and keep you active. Cycling to work helps reduce the consumption of fossil fuels and lessen traffic congestion on the road. On top of this, it promotes physical fitness and well-being within the workplace so it’s good for your employees as well as the planet.
A lot of energy efficient offices offer access to cycle to work schemes, allowing you to purchase a bike without the hefty one-off cost.
Having the right policies in place is key to becoming an energy efficient office. These can include powering off equipment when not in use, promoting paperless practices and encouraging green commuting.
Another popular energy saving idea in the workplace is coordinating WFH days – reducing the need for heating, cooling and lighting the office on these set days. It’s also important to make all your employees aware of these policies – working as a team to set goals and report on your progress can help motivate your team into saving energy office wide.
If you’re reading this, I assume you’re already interested in saving energy in the office – go you! However, as Michael Jordan said, “talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.” To become an energy efficient office, your whole team will have to chip in.
Designating a specific person or people to organise and oversee your energy-saving ideas in the workplace could help your business fast track to becoming an energy efficient office. Before you know it, you’ll have one big energy saving office family.
While it might sound obvious, understanding your current energy usage is a vital step towards creating an energy efficient office. Getting a thorough energy audit from a professional company could help identify areas where you could implement these energy-saving ideas in the workplace.
Depending on factors like the design, orientation or fit out of the building, different offices have varying levels of energy efficiency, so finding out the areas of your office that consume the most energy is a great way of pinpointing areas of improvement.
Simple changes like opting for the stairs over the elevator and walking to work rather than driving can help you burn calories as well as saving energy in the office – a win-win!
Scheduling meetings centrally can also eliminate the need for energy-consuming transport and help to contribute towards becoming a more energy efficient office.
Though it’s often overlooked in many energy-saving strategies, the office kitchen can be a hotbed for energy consumption. However this means that it holds potential for significant savings.
Appliances like toasters and coffee machines can be major energy hogs – so it’s worth trying to find more energy-efficient alternatives. Investing in good quality, eco-friendly appliances can help lower operational costs as well as reduce the time and money spent replacing low quality appliances.
Paying attention to small details such as these can help you make strides towards becoming a more energy efficient office.
Embracing green technology in the workplace is another great way to conserve energy in the office. Installing motion sensors, adaptive heating systems and power management tools are a great way of saving energy as well as creating a more comfortable and productive environment for your employees.
Updating hardware like computers, to more modern, energy-efficient versions can also help to reduce energy usage whilst increasing productivity.
Another great way of saving energy in the workplace is to bring the outside in. Introducing plants to your office can improve air quality, regulate temperature and humidity and reduce your reliance on energy-intensive heating and cooling systems.
Even having greenery outside the office, like bushes and trees, can help reduce the amount of direct sunlight that enters the office – and therefore reduce the need for air conditioning during the summer months.
If your business needs its own commercial vehicles, transitioning to electric cars is a smart way of saving energy. Electric cars produce significantly less emissions than those that rely on fossil fuels, making them a much more sustainable option for energy-efficient offices.
Some businesses even go as far as offering staff incentives or financial support for choosing to purchase or use electric cars for their own personal use, to encourage their employees to take up this energy saving idea in the workplace.
Despite their best efforts to become energy-efficient offices, many businesses waste huge amounts of energy through sheer oversight. Whilst it’s easy to do, simple actions like having heaters placed by open doors or windows is a huge waste of energy – not to mention money!
Fixing any leaks quickly and maintaining efficient HVAC systems can help to conserve this energy so that it can be used for more important tasks. Making employees mindful around their own energy consumption in the workplace, can also help contribute to creating an energy-efficient office.
In our increasingly digital world, more and more businesses are making the eco-conscious choice to become paperless. Not only does embracing technology help make your system a lot more efficient, it is also a great way to save energy in the workplace – as printing and copying documents can be very energy-intensive.
If you must print, try using energy-efficient printers or eco-friendly paper to help keep your carbon footprint down. Every little helps when it comes to becoming an energy efficient office!
Another way of saving energy at work, is to keep service items that use high power in good condition, to avoid having to replace them.
Some devices, like computers, servers and printers do use a lot of energy, so when using a more energy efficient alternative isn’t an option, regular maintenance of these can help ensure they function optimally for as long as possible.
While you may have always used the same suppliers, doing so could be massively inflating your carbon footprint – so reviewing these can be a quick way of saving energy in the workplace.
Make more informed choices by assessing the energy efficiency and sustainability practices of your suppliers. Opting for suppliers who prioritise energy-efficient products, eco-friendly materials and sustainable manufacturing processes will all help you in your journey towards becoming an energy efficient office.
When it comes to your energy provider, for example, do they use renewable sources? If not, installing solar panels to your building could offer a much more energy-efficient solution.
Turning down the air conditioning ever so slightly can be a straightforward yet effective way of saving energy in the office. Whilst we aren’t suggesting you sit and cook in the summer months, adjusting the thermostat slightly can significantly reduce the energy needed to cool your workspace.
Having air conditioning on in rooms that aren’t in use, or when people aren’t in will waste energy and increase your energy bills. Encourage your employees to dress appropriately, and to be mindful when adjusting the temperature to help conserve energy in the workplace.
Often recommended for people’s homes, smart meters can also be a great tool for saving energy at work. These devices provide real-time data on energy consumption, allowing businesses to monitor usage patterns and identify areas of inefficiency.
Knowing this information can help you implement targeted energy-saving strategies, set consumption goals and make informed decisions to reduce waste and lower your energy bills.
It is also worth reflecting on how the structural elements of your building may contribute to your office’s energy consumption. Whether you’re based in an older, period building or a newer, purpose-built one, there are several ways you can conserve energy within your office.
Investing in roofing insulation, double leaf walls and auto-closing doors can all help minimise the amount of heat loss (or even gain) helping to cut down the need for heating or cooling systems. In addition, double or even triple glazed windows, as well as solar shading and reflective roofing materials can help further conserve energy.
The ways in which employees travel to work can also consume huge amounts of energy before they even clock in for work, so encouraging green commuting is another great way to become a more energy efficient office.
Whether it’s by public transport, carpooling, or even cycling in – your employees are key to helping you achieve your energy saving goals. Initiatives like cycle to work schemes and incentives for opting for electric vehicles can help entice your employees to choose more sustainable options when commuting.
Now that you have reached the end of our energy-saving ideas for the workplace, reflect on how your business can utilise these tips and save tons of money in the process. A double whammy.
While there are several quick wins you can do to conserve energy at work, the bigger tasks are likely to have the most impact. Begin by getting an audit done professionally to give you a starting point on where you could be saving energy. Embedding your sustainability goals into your company values will help to get the whole team involved in making these improvements.
If you need any more help to save energy in your workplace, from organising an eco-friendly refurb, to finding a more energy-efficient office space, speak to one of our expert agents today.
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