In honor of Earth Day 2017, we’ve put together some easy guidelines to help you tackle what has proven to be an ongoing challenge for many businesses – energy consumption. As the use of technology in the workplace continues to rise, so does the average business’ hydro use. Not only is a high utility bill hard on your budget, it’s hard on the planet.
Greenhouse gasses come from many sources, and hydro production is a major contributor. Taking steps to reduce your business’ carbon footprint is, in the grand scheme of things, a pretty simple way to do some good for the environment.
Give these tips a try, and see what a difference lowering your energy consumption makes.
- Always buy ENERGY STAR qualified products for your small business. The ENERGY STAR mark indicates the most efficient computers, printers, copiers, refrigerators, televisions, windows, thermostats, ceiling fans, and other appliances and equipment available in today’s market.
- Turning off computers and other equipment when not in use can result in enormous energy savings. There is a common misconception that screen savers reduce energy use by monitors, which couldn’t be farther from the truth. Setting your systems to automatically switch to sleep mode or manually turning monitors off is a much better energy-saving strategy.
- To maximize savings with a laptop, plug the AC adapter into a power strip that can be turned off, or will turn off automatically. The transformer in the AC adapter draws power continuously, even when the laptop is not plugged into the adapter.
- Many people believe that technology lasts longer if it’s never powered off. This belief carries over from the days of older mainframe computers but has no bearing on today’s technology. Powering off equipment that is not in use won’t damage the technology in question, and can cut down on your total energy consumption significantly.
- Consider buying a laptop for your next computer upgrade; they use much less energy than desktop computers, resulting in long-term savings.
- Unplug battery chargers when the batteries are fully charged or the chargers are not in use. Even when adapters and cords are sitting idle, they’re still drawing power from the socket.
- Studies have shown that using rechargeable batteries for products like cordless phones and PDAs is more cost effective than disposable batteries. If you absolutely have to use disposable batteries, check with your local trash removal and recycling facilities about safe disposal options. Batteries release harmful chemicals when they start to break down, and should never be tossed in the trash.
- It’s not just computers you need to be thinking about. In fact, it’s not even just your office equipment you should be making adjustments to. Many appliances continue to draw a small amount of power when they’re switched off. These “phantom loads” occur in most appliances that use electricity, such as televisions, stereos, computers, and kitchen appliances. In the average home, 75% of the electricity used to power home electronics is consumed while the products are turned off. This can be avoided by unplugging the appliance or using a power strip and the strip’s on/off switch to cut all power to the appliance.
These small changes can add up to a big decrease in your business’ overall energy consumption and costs. Something as basic as a few new power strips and a couple of tweaks to your computer settings can make a noticeable difference in a relatively short amount of time. Making an effort to be a little greener around the office might just help make the world around you a little greener – and put a bit of green back in your pocket while you’re at it.