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Office energy saving advice


We could stand to save a little money on our gas and electricity bills. When you’re in an office environment, doing this is often easier said than done. Not anymore. Here at SwitchmyBusiness, we’ve created this handy little infographic to help you solve some of your most common energy-sapping problems.

All of the solutions we’ve included are easy and actionable and could make a real difference to your bills – for the better! So take a look and take action today – your bank balance will thank you.

Office energy saving infographic

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Problem: Your heating bills are extortionate but your staff are complaining about the temperature

Heating can account for 20-40% of energy costs in an office environment; which means there’s plenty of room for savings.

Open plan offices are all the rage at the minute and whilst they have their pros, such as encouraging collaboration and enhancing communication between departments, they also have their cons. Higher than average noise levels can be distracting for employees, but often one of the biggest sources of discontent is office temperature.

Different people run at different temperatures and regulating the office to keep everyone comfortable can be supremely difficult. You have one half of your employees who want the office to resemble a summers day whilst others find it easier to concentrate in a room that’s slightly cooler. So how can you keep everyone happy?

The easiest solution is to put your colder employees closer to the radiators – so in the winter they get the added benefit of a little extra heat. Those who run a little warmer will be more comfortable situated away from the radiators, perhaps in line of the windows so in the summer they’ll enjoy a cooling cross breeze.

Once everyone is in position, it’s time to see if you can start saving money! The Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) recommends that air-conditioned offices should be between 21-23°C in winter and 22-24°C in summer so set your thermostat accordingly.

Solutions: Try dropping the thermostat by 1˚C. Your employees are unlikely to realise that there’s been a temperature change and that drop of a single degree could save you up to 8% annually on your heating bills.

Avoid simultaneous heating and cooling. Having the air con on cool whilst the radiators are blasting out heat will just cancel each other out and cost you double what you should be paying. If it’s too hot, drop those thermostats down. If it’s too cold then it might be time to switch those air con units off and make sure that your office temp falls in line with CIBSE recommendations.

Adjust your heating and cooling seasonally. In the winter you’re going to need the heating on for much longer than in the warmer summer months so make sure that you adjust the time and thermostat to match the seasons as they come and go.

Problem: Your electricity bill is through the roof, and you’re not sure what’s to blame

Whether your business is large or small, office equipment typically account for 15% of the total energy consumption in offices. The cost of running all of those computers, printers, phones and photocopiers can really add up over the year.

What we found shocking was that this figure is expected to double by 2020 – meaning that your office equipment will account for around 30% of your total electricity bill!

Solutions: Remind your staff to switch off. At the end of the day, make sure that all computers and monitors are fully switched off, not just set to sleep. A single computer and monitor left on for 24 hours a day, seven days a week, will cost you on average £45 a year to run. Got five people who leave their computers on all the time and you’re looking at £225 a year! However, by turning your computers off at the end of the day, you could drop their yearly running costs to under £10 a year; so that £225 turns in to just a £50 running cost for those same five computers for the year.

Upgrade to newer energy efficient equipment. The older the monitor or machine, the more energy it is likely to use. An old CRT monitor (you know, the big ol’ chunky ones that used to take up most of your desk space) consume between 60 and 110 watts whilst most flat panel monitors use between 15 and 60 watts – you can’t argue with the maths!

Match the computer to the task. If one of your employees spends the majority of their time flicking between Word and Excel but they’re using the most high-spec computer in the office, you’re just burning through cash. Match the power of the machine to the task it’s being used for and you’ll not only have more productive staff, but also use less electricity too!

Problem: Your employees seem to be allergic to switching off lights at the end of the day

We’ve all been there – you’re the first person to arrive at the office in the morning but when you unlock the front door the office is already lit up like a Christmas tree with lights on everywhere from the toilets to the meeting room. Whilst it might not seem like a big deal, office lights left on overnight use enough energy to heat a home for almost five months.

It’s time to take a stand and make sure that those lights are switched off at the end of the day!

Solutions: Label light switches. In open plan offices you’ll often find that there’s a main panel of switches which turn the lights on in multiple rooms. However, no-one ever knows which switches are for which lights so they’re all switched to ‘on’ and left that way for the duration of the day. Taking five minutes to write out labels for each of the switches will prevent lights being left on unnecessarily which will save you money in the long run.

Use energy efficient compact fluorescents lamps (CFLs) which use 75% less energy could save you £16 a year. We think that speaks for itself!

Consider installing daylight or occupancy sensors. If you manage a particularly large office, installing sensors might be the easiest way of managing your lighting situation. Daylight sensors will only switch the lights on when the room gets darker than what the sensor is set to whilst occupancy sensors would only switch lights on when someone walks in to a room. Occupancy sensors would be perfect for installing in stationary cupboards, toilets and infrequently used spaces.

Problem: It feels like the photocopier is burning through cash like there’s no tomorrow

Your photocopier is the highest single energy-using pieces of equipment in your office. There’s so much conflicting advice about how your photocopier should be run for maximum energy efficiency; some say to leave it on all the time, others say switch it on and off depending on when you need it. But what should you really be doing to save money on running this vital piece of office equipment?

Solutions: Copy in batches. Waiting until you have a batch of copies to make, and switching the copier off when you’re done could save you around £194 a year – that’s nothing to be sniffed at!

Use low-melting point ink. By choosing an ink with a low melting point, your photocopier won’t have to expend so much energy warming up and getting ready to copy. That’s money in your pocket right there!

Match the copier to the job. Using the biggest, fanciest, fastest machine in the world for the odd black and white copy will be costing you much more than you need to pay. If you’re only copying something every once in a while – a printer with copying abilities might be the most cost-effective and space-saving option.

Problem: No matter how much you heat your office, there’s still a chill in the air

Two-thirds of heat in an office is lost through the building fabric, whilst the remaining third is lost through air infiltration and ventilation. If your office suffers from draughts you should take a close look at your building fabric before looking at the ventilation, heating or cooling systems. You could heat the building up as much as you like, but without addressing the biggest cause of the chill, you’ll just be wasting your money.

Solutions: Keep doors closed. This will help to contain the heat to the places where you want it, and not escaping out of the front door.

Fit draft excluders. These are a cost-effective way to reduce the number of spots where heat could escape and cold air could infiltrate. You can fit draught excluders to windows and doors. You’ll be surprised at what a difference it could make.

Insulate, insulate, insulate! 25% of a building’s heat will escape through an un-insulated roof which could be costing you thousands of pounds a year! Spending a little bit of money to ensure that your insulation is up to scratch could save you a big chunk of cash in the long run.

Sources:

http://www.carbontrust.com/media/13113/ctv005_office_equipment.pdf

http://www.carbontrust.com/media/13151/ctv007_office_based_companies.pdf

http://www.npower.com/idc/groups/wcms_content/@wcms/@resi/documents/digitalassets/energy_efficiency_guide.pdf

http://www.carbontrust.com/resources/faqs/technology-and-energy-saving/posters-and-stickers

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