Energy Conservation Tips to Reduce Office Expenses In this article we are going to break down the top energy conservation techniques for your business. We all know running an office is expensive, and one of the largest costs involved is also the most unpredictable: The monthly energy bill. The average cost of utilities for office buildings is $2.10 per square foot, but that number frequently fluctuates depending on what season it is, the region you’re in, and the resources being used. Here’s why business owners everywhere are implementing energy conservation procedures in the office to cut back on unnecessary costs, and energy saving tips to help you start doing the same in your business. What is Energy Conservation? You can define energy conservation as choosing to make a conscious effort to reduce energy consumption by either using less of it, or using it more efficiently. People usually adopt this behavior to reduce their utility costs as well as their environmental impact. There are several methods to save energy, including day-to-day behaviors and installing energy efficient products. How It’s Different From Energy Efficiency Though energy efficiency is closely connected to conservation through their shared goal of saving energy, it does have its own meaning. Conservation focuses on behavioral changes, while efficiency focuses on using products that use less energy. For example, you practice energy conservation by turning off the lights when you leave the room, and energy efficiency when you replace the light with an energy saving light bulb. Energy Saving Tips For Office Buildings While investing in energy efficient products will be helpful in the long run, there are several ways for business owners to save electricity with little to no cost upfront. In fact, just changing the behaviors of your staff can greatly impact your ability to reduce energy consumption. To help, we’ve put together a comprehensive list of energy saving tips for businesses big and small. Conduct an Energy Audit The best way to start developing your office energy conservation procedures is to conduct an energy audit. You can either hire someone to do this, which may be the best choice for larger businesses, or you can do it on your own simply by walking around the building to evaluate office energy use. During the audit, you’ll want to evaluate staff behavior and the utilities your office uses. Doing this helps you identify all areas and appliances your checklist of energy conservation techniques needs to include. Don’t forget to include things you may not touch every day, such as the thermostat and refrigerator temperature. Easy Product Switches Using energy efficient products is one of the best ways to save energy because it doesn’t rely as much on changing people’s daily routines. These products are designed to help people easily save on their electricity bills. Here are some products you can replace with a low-cost energy efficient alternative: \tUsing energy efficient LED bulbs for all office lighting. \tReplacing thermostats with smart thermostats. \tPurchasing smart power strips instead of normal ones. \tPurchasing rechargeable batteries instead of normal ones. \tReplacing a standard space heater with an energy efficient heater. \tPurchasing an energy efficient surge protector instead of a normal one. \tReplacing coffee machine with an energy efficient coffee maker. And many more! Just be sure to verify their Energy Star rating before buying, especially when purchasing a larger appliance. Using Office Products Wisely After completing your energy audit and identifying which efficient products you intend to start using, it’s time to start implementing daily energy conservation techniques for office staff. A few suggestions include: \tTurning automatic sleep mode on all computers and requesting that staff turn their computers off before leaving for the weekend. \tBeing conscious of your office’s printer usage by utilizing digital materials over paper as often as possible. \tUsing power strips. \tRequesting that staff hand wash kitchen dishes and leaving them out to air dry when possible. \tLimiting the amount of people who have access to the thermostat. \tImplementing a work from home policy (if you haven’t already) to reduce the amount of energy used in the office each day. \tTurning off lights when you leave the room and utilizing natural light when appropriate. How to Implement Energy Conservation Techniques With Your Staff The most difficult part of implementing office energy conservation practices is having to rely on people to change their daily routines. No matter how good of an employee someone is, people are creatures of habit and naturally will need a bit of an adjustment period. To help them adapt to these changes as smoothly as possible, it’s best to start by educating them on why saving energy is important for both your company and the planet. Making The Process Fun and Personalized Working with your human resources director, come up with ways to engage your employees so that they’ll be more willing to make a conscious effort to change their habits. You can make it a competition where the office votes on who has made the most improvement and reward the winner, or you could just provide lunch for everyone one day as a way to say thank you. Another way to motivate them is pointing out that that less money spent on the energy bill means more money available for new projects and technology, office parties, or even annual bonuses. It’s also a good idea to have your new energy saving strategy condensed onto an easy-to-read flyer that you can tape a few copies of around the office at places where an extra reminder may be needed, such as in the kitchen or at the printer. Sending a few office-wide email reminders can’t hurt, either! Whatever methods you choose, just be sure to make it personal by showing them how they will benefit from energy conservation too. To Sum Up Each year, business owners are spending more and more money paying for electricity than they need to. This is because they aren't implementing any office energy conservation procedures. In order to reduce business expenses spent on your energy bill, it’s important to understand what energy conservation and efficiency is and how it can help you as well as the environment. Contrary to what you may have previously thought, becoming an energy efficient business isn’t complicated and can be done at little to no upfront cost. To get your employees motivated to swap their usual daily habits for energy conscious, implement new office protocols in a way that motivates and informs them. If done correctly, you’ll be saving energy and money all while boosting your team’s morale. For additional energy management tools be sure to check out our small business energy management page!