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.
Remove or disconnect unnecessary light fixtures.
Replace incandescent light bulbs with LEDs
Replace or retrofit non-energy efficient light fixtures.
Install “occupant sensors” to automatically turn lights off and on.
Lower light levels, where appropriate, such as around computer monitors.
Install LED exit signs.
Install timers or photocells on outside lights.
Turn off lights when not in use or when natural daylight is sufficient. This can reduce lighting expenses by 10% – 40%.
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.
Use task lighting where feasible.
Implement a regular lighting maintenance program.
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.
Use hot water wisely.
Insulate hot water holding tanks and hot & cold water pipes.
Set your water heater at the lowest required temperature.
Install faucet aerators and efficient showerheads.
Find and fix water leaks.
Perform routine maintenance on refrigerators and freezers such as vacuuming to remove dust.
Turn off the lights in walk-in refrigerators.
Add strip curtains to refrigerated spaces without doors.
Defrost refrigerators regularly.
Retrofit or replace old refrigerators and freezers.
Turn off office equipment when not in use.
Maintain your office equipment to ensure good energy performance.
Use energy-saving computers and office equipment.
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.
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.
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.
Make sure your HVAC system is operating efficiently.
Inspect and clean or replace HVAC air filters on a regular basis.
Repair leaks in system components such as pipes, steam traps or couplings.
Install a programmable thermostat.
Make sure radiators, air intake vents, etc., are not obstructed so that air can flow freely.
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.
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.
Adjust thermostats for seasonal changes.
Calibrate thermostats to ensure that their ambient temperature readings are correct.
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.
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.
Clean the evaporator and condenser coils on heat pumps, air conditioners or chillers. Dirty coils inhibit heat transfer; keeping coils clean saves energy.
Repair steam trap leaks; replace malfunctioning steam traps.
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!
Operations and Maintenance
Keep external doors closed.
Use fans to pull warm air down from the ceiling in the winter.
Improve the insulation in the climate-controlled portions of your facility.
Plug leaks around windows, doors, outlets, etc., with weather stripping or caulk.
Conduct a nighttime audit to find out what’s on after working hours that shouldn’t be.
Improve operations and maintenance practices by regularly checking and maintaining equipment to ensure it’s functioning efficiently.
Optimize start-up time, power-down time, and equipment sequencing.
Revise janitorial practices to reduce the hours that lights are turned on each day.
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.
Visually inspect insulation on all piping, ducting and equipment for damage (tears, compression, stains, etc.).
Communication and Education
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.
Educate staff about how their behaviors affect energy use. Some teams have created energy patrols to monitor and inform others when energy is wasted.
Develop an energy team and assign responsibilities to pursue energy efficiency in all departments.
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.
Download Complete 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.