If you happen to rent an office or a building to run your business, chances are you pay more on energy costs than you really should be.

But that no longer has to be the case, because we’re going to provide you with three easy energy efficient office practices that’ll go a long way towards minimizing your energy costs.

To be energy efficient in the office, you should make a habit out of the following three steps:

  1. Turn off the lights when they’re not in use.
  2. Say goodbye to printers and paper.
  3. Control your thermostat.

You might look at those steps, and think to yourself, “there has to be more than that.” But truthfully speaking, it’s the smallest details that make the greatest impact. Following these three steps will help you reduce your operational costs, meaning you’ll have more money to invest towards payroll and R&D.

Turn off the lights when they’re not in use.

Turning off the lights sounds simple enough, right? Well, not quite. Depending on the size of your office or type of business you’re running, lighting can account for up to 20 percent of your energy consumption and in some cases even more than that.

According to a Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS), “17 percent of all electricity consumed in U.S. commercial buildings is for lighting, making it the largest end use of electricity besides the ‘Other’ category.” The findings from this survey show that there is always a big opportunity to save when it comes to lighting.

The first step you should take is to replace your current bulbs with energy saving LED bulbs. You might attach a high price point to LED bulbs, but that’s no longer the case. LEDs have become much more affordable and they pay for themselves in the long run.

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However, replacing your bulbs is only part of the solution.

You need to make sure your lights are always turned off when not in use. Sometimes we leave rooms in our office and forget to turn off the lights behind us. The room could then go for hours without being used. The lights will remain on, ultimately leading to extra costs which could have been put to better use.

As a result, it’s important to educate your employees on the benefits of turning off the lights. Establishing a culture of good energy saving habits will prove to be fruitful.

Since we’re talking about turning things off, it would also be beneficial to switch your electronics off at the end of the day. This means any computers or laptops left over-night should be shut down. Then, they won’t consume energy while not in use. If your office has vending machines, then those should be disconnected too at the end of the day.

Say goodbye to printers and paper.

Printers and photocopiers waste more than just energy. They allow excessive and costly use of paper.

Establishing a Paperless Rule in your office can help it become much more energy efficient. Creating files on the cloud, or using software programs such as Cisco Spark or Trello, can help keep your business organized and accessible to all of your employees.

With the latest innovations in online security, you can worry less about your files being accessed by a third party. If you’re still worried about losing your files, you can always back them up on a physical hard drive.

Control your thermostat.

There’s no reason why your office should feel cool and cozy once everyone is gone. The last person to leave the office should always turn up the thermostat a couple degrees. According to Energy.gov, “You can save as much as 10 percent a year on heating and cooling by simply turning your thermostat back 7˚-10˚F for 8 hours a day from its normal setting.”

This means that for the 8 to 12 hours your office is empty, your thermostat should be higher than usual. Once you come in the next day, you can re-adjust it to a cooler or warmer setting.

Creating small teams in the office to further push an energy saving agenda is a creative way to get your employees engaged. Creating carpool teams is another initiative your office can take on to reduce your overall carbon footprint.

One fun idea is to have weekly competitions between your teams to see who recycles more. Assign each team a recycle bin, and at the end of the week, look at who recycled most. The winning team can then choose a place to go to for happy hour.
Creating a fun atmosphere around good energy habits will help you maximize the energy efficiency of your office.