How to save energy in the office

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Saving energy in the office

Running a business can be expensive and your outgoings can add up very quickly. For example, you may need to pay rent for your building, provide a salary for your employees and keep up with the general running costs, such as gas and electricity, while still making a profit. 

Whether you’re looking for ways to save money or you’re trying to be more environmentally friendly, cutting down on your energy usage could be a good idea. Below, we’ve identified just some of the ways you can save energy in an office.

modern, clean office environment with green plants and lots of computers

Turn your computer off

Many office workers will put their computer to sleep before running out the door at 5pm on the dot. However, turning your computer off completely could save slightly more electricity. If there are a lot of computers in the office, this could add up to a substantial saving, particularly over a few months or years. 

In the past, it’s been stated that the surge in electricity required to start up a computer is more than the amount that’s used when the device is left in sleep mode. However, this is a myth, so if you run an office, encourage your employees to shut their computer down every day. 

Turn off the lights

Another feature that will use a large amount of electricity in an office is lighting. Lights that are left on overnight could be the cause of an increased electricity bill. You should ensure that all employees understand that it’s their responsibility to turn off the lights if they’re the last one to leave in the evening. This also goes for members of staff that are the last to leave a meeting room. If you notice a light on that doesn’t need to be, simply switch it off. 

If you’re still concerned that people won’t be doing this diligently, you could invest in automatic lights. If the sensor doesn’t detect movement for a couple of minutes, the lights will turn off by themselves. They can be reactivated by walking into a room. Alternatively, you could try using energy-saving bulbs.

Share the tea round

It may seem simple, but cups of tea and coffee should be made in bulk instead of one at a time. This means that the kettle only needs to be boiled once, instead of multiple times by different members of staff. To keep arguments at bay, a rota could be set up, determining who is responsible for the next tea round.

Modernise your appliances

Older appliances tend to be less efficient and could use more energy than newer models. Although there’ll be an initial outlay, the money that you save on your energy bills each month could make it a worthwhile decision. So, if your office has a dishwasher that’s on its last legs or a boiler that isn’t running as well as it should, it could be time for a replacement.

Control the temperature

It’s often said that finding the ‘perfect’ office temperature is impossible. Someone’s always too hot, someone else is always too cold and finding a happy medium can be challenging. However, it’s important that the temperature in the office doesn’t go from one extreme to another. 

The most comfortable room temperature is between 20 and 23℃ so try to keep the office between these numbers. It’s worth noting that reducing the thermostat by one degree could result in a saving of around £80 a year in a typical three-bedroom home. This saving could, therefore, increase for an office. 

How much electricity does a computer use?

Providing an exact answer to this question can be difficult, as it depends on your computer, how frequently you use it and how long for. As previously discussed, it also depends whether you leave it on sleep or shut it down after each use.

How much energy does my PC use?

A standard PC will use around 1.9 kilowatts per hour (kWh). If this computer is on for eight hours a day, the annual consumption is around 360 kWh. The average electricity cost for a home is around 15p per kWh, therefore, to run one computer for one year would cost around £54.

Usage depends on what you need the appliance for as well as the processing power of the computer. For example, the PC could use more electricity if you regularly play games or download lots of files at once than if you use it to create a simple Word document.

How can you conserve energy when using a computer?

We’ve already discussed that you should turn your computer off altogether when you’ve finished using it for the day, but there are some other ways you can conserve energy too. 

First, you can set up a time after which your computer should go to sleep. For example, after five minutes of non-use, your computer could automatically turn to sleep mode. For a laptop, this will conserve battery power, and for a PC, it’ll use less electricity while it’s sleeping. So, if you’ve been on the phone or in a meeting for a long time, you know that your computer is automatically using less energy.  

Second, you can try adjusting the brightness of your screen. In well-lit offices, your screen doesn’t need to be on full brightness. Try dimming it a bit, and you could save a little bit more money per year. 

Finally, you should disconnect any devices that are connected to your computer that you aren’t currently using. Printers and scanners that are always on and connected to your computer can use quite a lot of electricity. In an office, this can be tricky, particularly as these devices may be used frequently. In this case, for example, printers located in meeting rooms could be turned off, leaving the main one available at all times.

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