Small Office? No Problem. Take Tips from Big Companies to Save Energy in Any Office Space
You know it’s important to save energy wherever you are—especially at work, where you can spend a large portion of each week day. Outside of large-scale programs, what can YOU do at the office to save energy, especially if you work for a small company?
We asked big organizations with high-level energy efficiency programs about small-scale activities that any person can do to save energy in any office. Representatives from AT&T, Duke Energy, Affordable Comfort and Bank of America agree that little steps toward energy efficiency can add up to a lot of savings.
“While … a focus on cost savings and minimizing environmental impact help drive our company-wide energy efficiency efforts, we also know that the everyday actions by individuals can make a big difference,” said AT&T’s Senior Energy Manager John Schulz.
Here are some daily actions you can do to cut back on energy use, as well as boost your company’s bottom line—whether you’re at your desk, in a conference room, or in the kitchen. And the money your company saves in energy just might end up in your pocket.
One of the easiest ways to save power is remembering to turn off the lights when you leave a room, even the copy room and bathroom.
In addition to switching the lights you have off, you can save energy by switching the light bulb(s) in your desk lamp from incandescent to compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs, advised Duke Energy Spokesperson Paige Layne. Try to persuade your office manager to make this switch for every desk lamp, or at least order CFLs as replacements for incandescents in the office stockroom.
But regardless of what your office has in stock, you can save energy in your personal workspace by only turning on your desk lamp while working on paper-based tasks that require more light, and sticking with just your overhead lights while working on your computer.
Plugs and Appliances
Think of how many items you plug in at the office, and how often those items are not in use. Hard to count? Then order a power strip and use it to plug in your computer, monitor, desk lamps, phone charger, etc. Turn everything off with a single switch whenever you leave the office for lunch, for an appointment, or for the day, recommended Project and Training Manager Carla Maxwell of Affordable Comfort.
The kitchen offers a variety of opportunities to save energy. Try moderating the temperature in the refrigerator and freezer, and encourage your company to consider ENERGY STAR qualified appliances, AT&T’s Schulz said.
When leaving the office for a significant amount of time, make sure to power off both your computer and monitor—not just one or the other, Maxwell said.
And if you have a choice between a laptop and a desktop computer, go with the laptop. Most laptops save significantly more energy than desktops.
Make it a team effort
Some of your coworkers may be challenged to take on energy-saving behaviors. So get creative to get people involved, the big players advise.
Lead by example, as well as “pressure your coworkers” into taking on energy-saving behaviors by making it a fun competition, suggested Layne of Duke Energy.
For more formal encouragement, create an energy reduction work team. Voluntary meetings about the advantages of energy efficiency can bring the subject to the forefront of your coworkers’ minds, as well as help share the duties of keeping the office power smart.
For instance, Bank of America employees attend an education program called “My Environment” that teaches accountability for energy use, said Lisa Shpritz, environmental risk and sustainability executive at Bank of America. In fact, the Bank is establishing a team of My Environment “ambassadors” to spread messages about energy use reduction and other green activities at work.
To reinforce positive behavior, both in yourself and your coworkers, remember to relish in your results. At Bank of America, employees share their energy saving success stories, as well as post facts and energy saving tips, in kitchen and break room areas, Shpritz said.
Whether it’s in person or online—such as on the company’s intranet—share your energy saving success to encourage others to join the effort.
Written by Miriam Berg and Rebecca Fleischer, Alliance To Save Energy