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January 14, 2015
Your business uses energy – no matter the season. Though the use of energy is unavoidable, there are several ways you can monitor your business’s energy efficiency and educate your employees on what it means to be energy efficient and how they can help. The dawn of a New Year is the perfect time to put your green foot forward and try to make your business a more energy-efficient space. Your employees play a key part in how much energy your company uses and how much energy it saves. Though you may not know much about your company’s energy usage, there are experts who can help you find out.
A Commercial Energy Audit will give you an idea of your business’ average rate of energy consumption. These audits track utility consumption over time and include building inspections, both interior and exterior, lighting assessments and energy conservation opportunity assessments. The results of the audit should be shared with your employees.
After each audit, you will find that there are several ways that you can improve your energy efficiency – lighting being the most common. Discuss this with your employees and explain the benefits of changing the lighting. Do this with whichever changes you decide to make inside and outside of your business. Your employees contribute to the energy consumption at your business. Including them in this process can help remind them to be more energy efficient going forward.
If you have already gone through the audit process, have a meeting with your employees about the energy consumption at your business before the audit, after changes were made and now. If the energy consumption has remained lower since the audit, congratulate them. If not, inform them that their actions make a difference.
Set a goal. Keep in mind this goal cannot be the broad goal of, “I want the company to reduce energy consumption.” Set a specific, attainable goal for you and your employees. Perhaps your goal is to reduce energy consumption by 5% in one year. Inform your employees of this and perhaps make it a competition.
Give your employees an incentive. It does not have to be a huge bonus for everyone at the end of the year. Perhaps your team is the type that would be motivated by the promise of a T-shirt that states that your company is “going green” with their help. No matter the incentive, getting your employees invested in your goal is a big step.
By setting goals, and generating new ones once the previous have been achieved, you can measure your results. Having measurable results not only makes you feel good about your accomplishments but they can also be useful for other reasons – like benefits!
The US government has several programs in place that offer businesses who have low energy consumption (and waste output). Do your research. Depending on the size of your business and your energy consumption, qualifying for one of these grants may be a goal of yours – even if it may take years for your business to get there.
Though this may seem silly to some of you, a great way to remind your employees to save energy is by posting signs around your building in strategic places. Depending on the type of team you have, you may be posting signs that say, “Don’t forget to shut me off!” by a light switch or a sign that says, “Please remember to shut off lights.”
Whether your signs are whimsical or serious, it is great to have reminders around the office. More often than not, your employees have routines. As you already know, routines are hard to break. Subtle reminders around the office of your goal can help motivate your employees and move them towards wanting to achieve that goal. Great places to put signs are by light switches, appliances, sinks and thermostats.
The big decisions that will drastically change your business’s energy consumption are yours. Whether you decide to change your lighting, better insulate the building, update your HVAC system or even replace windows, it all makes a difference. Though these big decisions are yours, it does not mean that your employees cannot help you continue saving energy.
By explaining to your employees the current state of energy consumption, any changes you may be making, the goals you have set and even giving them little reminders, you are including them in the process. Make your goals their goals. We all share in this one world and becoming more energy efficient is something that perhaps your employees are already passionate about in their homes. If you can, channel that passion and help them carry it over to the workplace.
Lastly, having your entire team working towards one cause – energy efficiency – can boost workplace morale and bring them closer together.
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