Energy is becoming scarcer by the day, we might not notice it, but the scarcity of adequate energy is a reality that is creeping on us. Small businesses feel this through increased energy costs. These high energy bills can be quite a drain on the resources of the business. Furthermore, since they are a recurrent form of expenditure, they prevent the business from using any of that money to make investments for the future. The effect of this can be stunted growth potential. Going green in terms of energy use can be a huge cost saving measure for the business. A second reason to go green is to save our environment. High energy use means increased consumption of fossil fuels for energy production.
Whatever reason the small business chooses to go green, there are a number of tips that can make the entire transition a successful venture:
1. Lighting and climate needs
Lighting and climate needs can be some of the biggest drains on your energy consumption. This is especially true of lighting systems which are kept on even when no one is using them and climate control HVAC systems that are used to keep the office bearable. Lighting and climate need can be handled efficiently in terms of energy use by adopting a strategy where they are used only as needed and nature is incorporated into the equation. Here is how:-
- Switch off lights in offices that are empty, unused, and make sure lights are switched off at the end of the day
- Use daylight to light up the offices during the day if possible in order to save on electricity
- Use energy saving bulbs, newer light fixtures, and compact fluorescents with lower energy ratings and high energy efficiency
- Any signs that must be kept on at all times such as exit signs should use energy saving LED technology.
- If possible, invest in automatic timing and user detection systems that only switch on the lights at certain hours for outdoors and when they detect someone for indoor lighting. User detection systems mean that rooms that aren’t occupied won’t waste electricity
- Use windows to get heat from the sun during colder seasons of the year to ease the burden on heating costs and close curtains in colder months to reduce heat loss.
- Switch off the heating system when you leave for the day. If the office is unoccupied, there is no need to use that energy
- When using the AC on warm/hot days, close external doors as this wastes energy
- Make sure your air conditioning, heating and ventilation systems are kept as modern and well maintained as possible. Old, poorly maintained systems consume more energy.
- Fans that are well arranged can use natural cooling systems to ease the burden on the AC
2. Equipment needs
Equipment can be a mighty factor in the consumption of electricity by any business. The wide array of machines and gizmos that allow the business to run are all powered by electricity. For the business to achieve energy efficiency, it must control the consumption by equipment. Here are some tips on achieving energy efficiency:-
- It should be switched off if not in use currently. The minor luxury of being able to activate your computer with a single click is not worth the energy consumption when you leave it on for long and unused hours. You can use tools such as automatic sleep or hibernate modes for both the monitors and the CPU.
- If it is not currently in use, the socket should be switched off or unplugged. Electronic equipment continuously draws electricity from the socket, even when not currently in use. The solution to this one is to switch off the socket or the power strip when not in use.
- Make sure that all of your electronic equipment has certification for energy efficiency. A common form for computing hardware is Energy Star Qualifications. A useful certification for products sourced from Europe is the European Union Energy Label.
This way you conserve your electricity use and reduce the annoying energy bills while doing something right for the environment.