From PCs, printers and servers to kettles and fridges, your business no doubt uses an array of appliances. But which electricals are the biggest energy drain in your workplace? Here, we take a look at some of the most commonly used office equipment to see which items tend to use the most electricity. We also offer tips on how to bring your bills down – and do your bit for the environment in the process.
How to calculate the electric consumption of appliances
You can check how much electricity a specific appliance uses by looking at its power rating. Most devices have a label (usually located on the bottom or the back of the item, or in the owner’s manual) that details how many watts (W) they use. This figure is sometimes given in kilowatts (kW) – equivalent to 1,000W.
The wattage gives you the electrical consumption when the appliance is in use, but how do you know how much it will cost you to run? Energy suppliers in the UK measure electrical consumption in kilowatt hours (kWh), and they charge a unit price based on this. A kWh is a unit of electrical energy that is equivalent to a power consumption of 1,000W for one hour.
As long as you know the kWh price that your energy provider is charging you, you can work out how expensive your appliances are to run. For example, if the unit cost is 12.5p/ kWh, running a 50W laptop for eight hours will set you back 50/1,000 (to get the kW figure) x 12.5 x 8, which comes to 5p per day.
Electrical appliances that use the most energy
The electrical appliances that consume the most energy in your workplace will, of course, depend on the specific technology that you use, and how you use it. However, here are some of the biggest energy users in typical offices:
- Air conditioning – 4,000W
- Servers – 1,000W
- Projectors – 300W
- Desktop computers – 100W
- Fridges – 80W
- Photocopiers (standby) – 70W
- Light bulbs – 60W
- Printers (standby) – 50W
- Laptops – 50W
- Desk fans – 50W
Do 3D printers use a lot of electricity?
One example of a device that’s becoming increasingly popular in workplaces across the world is the 3D printer. Opening up a whole new world of technical and creative possibilities for users, these appliances can now be found in a wide range of offices. However, some organisations are reluctant to embrace this technology because of concerns over cost – with power usage often factoring into this. So, do these printers actually use a lot of power?
There are many different models of 3D printer available, and electricity consumption varies significantly between devices. However, according to 3D printer specialists Technology Outlet, the average model uses around the same amount of electricity as a fridge. It suggests that over the course of a year, you could expect to spend between £25 and £62 on electricity to power one of these devices, depending on usage.
Does leaving appliances plugged in use electricity?
It’s important to realise that many appliances continue to consume electricity even in standby mode. For example, always leaving a laptop plugged in (even if it’s fully charged) can use around 4.5 kWh a week, or 234 kWh a year.
For this reason, it really does pay to switch appliances off at the mains when possible. A convenient way to do this is to group appliances on a power strip so that you can turn them all off at the same time.
Easy ways to save electricity in the workplace
There are a number of simple things you can do in the office to cut your electricity usage. As mentioned before, turning your appliances off when they’re not in use is a big help. Another tip is to make the switch from traditional light bulbs to LEDs, which use a fraction of the power of standard bulbs. For further savings, consider installing timers or occupancy sensors to your lighting system. This will help ensure that bulbs are only on when they need to be.
If you don’t have one already, upgrading to an intelligent heating, ventilation and air conditioning system could also save you a considerable sum. These systems can be automated to ensure the temperatures in your office never go above or below a certain level, and they are designed to use less energy.
You could also save power by switching to more efficient tech. When you’re buying new appliances, make sure you look out for models with an ‘A’ rating for energy efficiency.
Being conscious of electricity usage in your workplace and finding ways to lower it can make a major difference to your bottom line, and it helps to show that your business has a responsible approach to the environment.