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.
Install “occupant sensors” to automatically turn lights off and on.
Implement a regular lighting maintenance program.
Install timers or photocells on outside lights.
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.
Turn off lights when not in use or when natural daylight is sufficient. This can reduce lighting expenses by 10% – 40%.
Remove or disconnect unnecessary light fixtures.
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.
Use shades and blinds to control direct sun through windows in both summer and winter to prevent or encourage heat gain.
Replace incandescent light bulbs with LEDs.
Replace or retrofit non-energy efficient light fixtures.
Install LED exit signs.
Lower light levels, where appropriate, such as around computer monitors.
Use task lighting where feasible.
Use hot water wisely.
Install faucet aerators and efficient showerheads.
Insulate hot water holding tanks and hot & cold water pipes.
Set your water heater at the lowest required temperature.
Find and fix water leaks.
Turn off the lights in walk-in refrigerators.
Defrost refrigerators regularly.
Retrofit or replace old refrigerators and freezers.
Perform routine maintenance on refrigerators and freezers such as vacuuming to remove dust.
Add strip curtains to refrigerated spaces without doors.
Buy EnergyStar products.
Enable the power management function on office computers, which automatically puts monitors to sleep when not in use.
Make sure your motors and motor systems are running at optimum efficiency.
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.
Activate sleep settings on all printers, copiers, fax machines, scanners, and multifunction devices so they automatically enter a low-powered sleep mode when inactive.
Maintain your office equipment to ensure good energy performance.
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.
Use energy-saving computers and office equipment.
Turn off office equipment when not in use.
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.
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.
Make sure radiators, air intake vents, etc., are not obstructed so that air can flow freely.
Keep exterior doors closed while running your HVAC. It sounds simple, but it will help avoid wasteful loss of heated or cooled air!
Install a programmable thermostat.
Calibrate thermostats to ensure that their ambient temperature readings are correct.
Inspect and clean or replace HVAC air filters on a regular basis.
Repair steam trap leaks; replace malfunctioning steam traps.
Make sure your HVAC system is operating efficiently.
Repair leaks in system components such as pipes, steam traps or couplings.
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.
Adjust thermostats for seasonal changes.
Clean the evaporator and condenser coils on heat pumps, air conditioners or chillers. Dirty coils inhibit heat transfer; keeping coils clean saves energy.
Use the Energy Star Building Checklist to cut down on winter heating costs.
Set back the thermostat in the evenings and other times when the building isn’t occupied.
Use fans to pull warm air down from the ceiling in the winter.
Improve the insulation in the climate-controlled portions of your facility.
Keep external doors closed.
Review and emphasize the financial and environmental results of a preventative maintenance program for major systems and components.
Improve operations and maintenance practices by regularly checking and maintaining equipment to ensure it’s functioning efficiently.
Set goals and a methodology to track and reward improvements.
Optimize start-up time, power-down time, and equipment sequencing.
Plug leaks around windows, doors, outlets, etc., with weather stripping or caulk.
Visually inspect insulation on all piping, ducting and equipment for damage (tears, compression, stains, etc.).
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.
Develop an energy team and assign responsibilities to pursue energy efficiency in all departments.
Educate staff about how their behaviors affect energy use. Some teams have created energy patrols to monitor and inform others when energy is wasted.
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.
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.
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.