Building waste accounts for 72% of the United States’ electricity consumption. In particular, office spaces consume the most energy of any type of commercial building1, emitting a significant amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. At present, there is no price for carbon, but this is bound to change as carbon taxes gain more support. By reducing your energy usage now, you will decrease operating costs and relieve your company’s vulnerability to increases in prices or CO2 regulation later.
If you have not yet taken steps to improving your energy efficiency, begin by determining your carbon foot print (note – this is one of many calculators and is provided as an example only). Track it through different installations and changes made in your office space so that you can see the difference impact measures make on your greenhouse gas emissions. Start with simple improvements, such as upgrading lighting systems, beforemaking large scale improvements.
Improve Your Lighting: Upgrading the lighting system of an entire building can have dramatic effects on your yearly operating costs. Make changes to the lighting system in your building before you make changes to the HVAC system since inefficient lighting produces a lot of heat waste, adding to the cost of air conditioning during the summer. Replace incandescent lights with more efficient compact florescent (CFL) or light emitting diodes (LED) lights. Encourage employees to turn lights off when leaving a room, but utilize dimmers and sensors in the office building to regulate lighting usage since it is difficult to change habits overnight.
Improving Your HVAC System: Before overhauling the HVAC systems in your building, reduce your heating and cooling requirements. Take simple steps such as cleaning and maintaining preexisting equipment, installing window treatments to block direct sunlight during the summer, and caulking cracks that let heat escape during the winter. Only after taking steps to reduce the amount of conditioning your space requires, look into more efficient systems. Investigate renewable sources of heat generation such as geothermal and solar heating, and make sure upgrades to the air conditioning units are appropriate for the size of the space.
Buying Energy Star: Companies today need many different types of electronic devices in order to keep business running smoothly. Office equipment like computers, printers, copy machines, and digital displays shoulder much of the burden for the company’s carbon foot print; many of these products can be found with an Energy Star certificate. In particular, because of the immense amount of time workers spend on computers, ENERGY STAR computers are required to meet high standards while running, as well as while they are on standby and sleep mode. Use the Power Management settings to put the computer in to a lower-power state after business hours. For help selecting the best products for your newly green business, visit http://www.epeat.net/, the EPA Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool.
Visit other posts to learn about saving energy in a particular field of business: Greening Restaurants, Sustainable Companies Achieve 200% ROI Per Bloomberg, Eco-Friendly Conference Centers And Where to Find Them, Benefits of Telework, Car Rental Takes A Turn For The Sustainable, What Do You Know About Clean Energy