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April 27, 2015
Saving energy is an important task for everyone. Most people in Colorado make efforts to save energy at home, largely because it saves the homeowner money to do so. It is important to take steps to save energy at the workplace as well. Not only will it help cut expenses for the business, but it also helps the environment. Many Coloradans know the basic steps to take to save energy at the office, but there are some other not-so-obvious actions that can be taken as well.
1. Determine peak electricity hours
Each geographic area has its own peak electricity hours. These are hours when electricity rates are the highest. There are usually two time periods per day, and they can vary by season. For example, according to Colorado Springs Utilities, the peak hours in that municipality during the summer are between 11:00 AM and 6:00 PM. Office workers should make an attempt to avoid heavy electric use, such as large copy jobs, at these times.
2. Use air conditioning wisely
Air conditioning units can require lots of energy to use. Air conditioning systems can easily get overloaded, and this results in days when the temperature in the office dips quite low. Not only is this experience uncomfortable for workers, but it is also costly for the company and bad for the environment. One way to prevent air conditioning overload is to set the system lower during off-peak electricity periods and raise the internal temperature of the office after about 3:00 in the afternoon. The air conditioning should also be shut off during the evening and on the weekends, when the building is empty. Only chill what is necessary. Place computer servers into a small room that can be kept cool. Other supplies such as paperwork, files, and furniture that aren’t temperature-sensitive, should be placed elsewhere, so air conditioning does not get wasted.
3. Unplug everything
Too often workers go home at the end of the work day and simply put their computers in “Sleep” mode. They also casually walk past equipment not noticing that it is still on. Keeping office equipment running unnecessarily can put a strain on the energy consumption of the office. Not only will large pieces of equipment continue to pull energy when they are turned off, but they will continue to do so even if they are plugged in. At the end of the workday, workers should make a conscious effort to make sure all equipment is turned off and unplugged. Small electronics such as coffee makers should not be overlooked either. Although this step may seem insignificant, it can save lots of money in energy costs over time.
4. Use a laptop
Laptop computers have several advantages over desktops. They are smaller, so they require less space. They produce less heat, use less energy to cool and less power to operate. They also make it possible for employees to be more mobile during the work day. If it is possible to convert every employee to a laptop computer, a business can see a considerable energy savings in a short amount of time.
Business owners can save a significant amount of energy by allowing employees to work from home at least one day a week. On telecommuting days, the office should be kept as dark as possible and all unnecessary equipment should be turned off. Shutting down the office even one day a week can result in a significant energy and cost savings. Companies that can handle having their employees telecommute more than one day a week can see a larger savings in a quicker amount of time.
Lighting is another feature of offices that is often overlooked. Traditionally, offices have been well-lit with lots of overhead fluorescent lights. This type of lighting should be replaced by softer “task lighting”. If an office is still using incandescent lights, they should be swapped out for CFLs. Although CFLs cost more to purchase, they save money in the long-run by lasting longer and using less energy. Regardless of the type of light bulb, lights should be turned off when they are not in use. It is also a good idea to install motion sensors that will automatically turn the lights in a room on and off as people enter and exit the space. Where overhead lighting is necessary, switch the traditional fluorescent bulbs with more energy-efficient T8 tubes. Perhaps one of the best ways to save energy is by reducing the amount of overall lighting that is used in an office and to rely on natural light whenever possible.
There are many ways Colorado employees can contribute to saving energy during the work day. Although some of the actions are less obvious than others, they are still just as important. When it comes to conserving energy, every little bit helps. If everyone pitches in, the result is an energy-efficient office.
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