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Reduce Your Office Energy Consumption
Top Ten Ways to Reduce Office Energy Consumption
If you sit very still in your cubicle you will probably hear the gentle hum of machines all around you, and it's seems like no one cares about reducing your office's energy consumption. With multiple computers, printers, faxes, and copy machines offices can be some of the biggest energy hogs out there, but there is hope. With a little effort and education you can help turn your office into an energy friendly workplace. If you want to reduce your office energy consumption, start with these top ten tips.
1. Optimize Energy Settings on Your Computer
Every computer has energy settings that will put the machine into sleep mode if not used for a certain period of time. Using these settings to shut off the monitor or put the computer into sleep mode can really help lighten the electricity load. If nothing else, shut off your monitor when you walk away from your desk, it sucks up the most power.
2. Shut Down Your Computer When You Leave
Did you know that if every US computer and monitor were shut down every night we could shut down eight large power stations and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by seven million tons annually? One of the biggest things you can do to reduce office energy consumption is to shut off your computer, and encourage others to do so, every night.
3. Unplug Devices that are Not in Use
That printer that you used last Wednesday that is still plugged in is actually sucking electricity, even though you aren't using it. In fact, fax machines actually use more electricity when they are in standby than they do when they're faxing! If you aren't using a device, unplug it from the wall until you need it again.
4. Utilize a Power Strip
A power strip can be a handy device for saving energy in your office. Simply shut down your printer and your computer in the evening, and then flip the switch on the power strip to shut off electricity to all peripheral devices. This prevents peripheral devices from sucking phantom electricity while waiting in standby mode.
5. Replace Old Monitors with LCD Screens
If you still have a clunky old monitor then it's time to replace it with a flat screen, which could greatly reduce your office energy consumption.
6. Buy EnergyStar Equipment
Of course if you really want to create a green office environment then you should consult EnergyStar guidelines before buying any new equipment. An EnergyStar printer, for example, could use as much as 65% less electricity than a non-EnergyStar printer. For a list of which products meet EnergyStar specifications, visit their website, which is linked below.
7. Install an Occupancy Detector
For a relatively small amount of money an occupancy detector can be installed in a room and linked to the lighting. The detector will shut off lights when people are not in the room, helping to reduce office energy consumption. If you can't install these devices then assign someone to be the "light switcher" and to turn off lights in any room that is not in use.
8. Use Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs
Compact fluorescent light bulbs are a relatively new addition to the market, and they are about four to five times more efficient than a traditional light bulb. This is because a traditional bulb only uses 8% of the energy it consumes to produce light; the rest goes towards producing heat. CFL's are a bit more expensive than traditional bulbs, but the energy you'll save will more than pay for the difference.
9. Invite in Sunlight
Natural light is free, clean, and also helps brighten the mood of workers. To reduce office energy consumption open up all those blinds and invite the natural light inside. Try to arrange desks around natural light sources if possible as well.
10. Don't Abuse the Heating and Cooling System
Many offices are either too warm or too hot, but as a result of abusing the HVAC system, not because of factors outside. Many people go from air conditioned cars to an air conditioned office, and don't dress sensibly for what real weather is like. Even if you only adjust the temperature a couple of degrees it could save you up to three percent in energy costs. Also consider installing a timed thermostat which will shut off heaters and air conditioners after everyone has gone home for the night. While computers are the most visible energy vampires, the real monster is the office heating and cooling system.
Don't try to reduce office energy consumption alone. Get your coworkers into the game and have fun becoming a more eco-friendly workplace and working together as a team. Even small changes will help bring you towards a greener, and healthier office.