Powering the Next Energy-saving Idea
There are hundreds of ways you can save energy at work every day. It may not seem like swapping in LED bulbs or fixing a leaky steam pipe will do much to reduce your energy bill or protect the environment, but if every business did just a few of the energy-saving tips below, we would reduce energy use significantly.
Implement a regular lighting maintenance program.
Use task lighting where feasible.
Maximize daylighting. After all, sunlight is free! Open or close blinds to make the best use of natural daylight and take advantage of skylights or other natural daylight sources to reduce lighting during daytime hours.
Replace incandescent light bulbs with LEDs.
Install timers or photocells on outside lights.
Remove unnecessary lamps (de-lamp) in overlit areas. Check your light levels against standards from the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) to see if you have areas that are over- or under-lit.
Replace or retrofit non-energy efficient light fixtures.
Turn off lights when not in use or when natural daylight is sufficient. This can reduce lighting expenses by 10% – 40%.
Lower light levels, where appropriate, such as around computer monitors.
Install LED exit signs.
Remove or disconnect unnecessary light fixtures.
Use shades and blinds to control direct sun through windows in both summer and winter to prevent or encourage heat gain.
Install “occupant sensors” to automatically turn lights off and on.
Find and fix water leaks.
Set your water heater at the lowest required temperature.
Insulate hot water holding tanks and hot & cold water pipes.
Use hot water wisely.
Install faucet aerators and efficient showerheads.
Add strip curtains to refrigerated spaces without doors.
Perform routine maintenance on refrigerators and freezers such as vacuuming to remove dust.
Turn off the lights in walk-in refrigerators.
Retrofit or replace old refrigerators and freezers.
Defrost refrigerators regularly.
Make sure your motors and motor systems are running at optimum efficiency.
Buy EnergyStar products.
Enable the power management function on office computers, which automatically puts monitors to sleep when not in use.
Plug electronics into a “smart” power strip that lets you designate which electronics should always be on, and which ones do not need power when they’re not in use.
Maintain your office equipment to ensure good energy performance.
Turn off office equipment when not in use.
Activate sleep settings on all printers, copiers, fax machines, scanners, and multifunction devices so they automatically enter a low-powered sleep mode when inactive.
Consolidate stand-alone office equipment to achieve a ratio of one device (typically a networked multifunction device) per 10 or more users. Typical cost savings can reach 30% – 40% for electricity, hardware, consumables (paper, ink, and toner), and maintenance.
Use energy-saving computers and office equipment.
Install a programmable thermostat.
Make sure radiators, air intake vents, etc., are not obstructed so that air can flow freely.
Adjust thermostats for seasonal changes.
Regularly change or clean HVAC filters every month during peak cooling or heating season. Dirty filters cost more to use, overwork the equipment, and result in lower indoor air quality.
Repair steam trap leaks; replace malfunctioning steam traps.
Clean the evaporator and condenser coils on heat pumps, air conditioners or chillers. Dirty coils inhibit heat transfer; keeping coils clean saves energy.
Shorten the preventive maintenance intervals for replacing air handler filters. These keep air clean and prevent equipment from working harder to force air through dirty filters.
Repair damaged insulation and replace missing insulation with thicknesses calculated for the operating and ambient conditions of the mechanical system.
Keep exterior doors closed while running your HVAC. It sounds simple, but it will help avoid wasteful loss of heated or cooled air!
Set back the thermostat in the evenings and other times when the building isn’t occupied.
Make sure your HVAC system is operating efficiently.
Use the Energy Star Building Checklist to cut down on winter heating costs.
Calibrate thermostats to ensure that their ambient temperature readings are correct.
Inspect and clean or replace HVAC air filters on a regular basis.
Make sure that areas in front of vents are clear of furniture and paper. As much as 25% more energy is required to distribute air if your vents are blocked.
Repair leaks in system components such as pipes, steam traps or couplings.
Plug leaks around windows, doors, outlets, etc., with weather stripping or caulk.
Use fans to pull warm air down from the ceiling in the winter.
Visually inspect insulation on all piping, ducting and equipment for damage (tears, compression, stains, etc.).
Review and emphasize the financial and environmental results of a preventative maintenance program for major systems and components.
Set goals and a methodology to track and reward improvements.
Optimize start-up time, power-down time, and equipment sequencing.
Improve operations and maintenance practices by regularly checking and maintaining equipment to ensure it’s functioning efficiently.
Keep external doors closed.
Conduct a nighttime audit to find out what’s on after working hours that shouldn’t be.
Revise janitorial practices to reduce the hours that lights are turned on each day.
Improve the insulation in the climate-controlled portions of your facility.
Educate staff about how their behaviors affect energy use. Some teams have created energy patrols to monitor and inform others when energy is wasted.
Reward energy-efficient behaviors and habits to engage employees in helping your organization save energy. For example, you might host a competition and throw an ice cream social for the building or office that achieves the greatest improvement in energy performance.
Ensure that team members from every department are trained in the importance of energy management and basic energy-saving practices. Hold staff meetings on energy use, costs, objectives, and employee responsibilities.
Develop an energy team and assign responsibilities to pursue energy efficiency in all departments.
Collection of Tips
Saving energy doesn’t have to be hard. With just a few minutes a month, you’ll notice a difference—and make a difference! Download or print this PDF and choose a few tips to work into your daily routine.