Office equipment is a huge and growing source of energy use by businesses. Nevertheless, by managing your office equipment carefully you can reduce the amount of energy it consumes by up to 70 per cent. As well as saving you money by reducing your energy costs, managing your use of equipment and improving efficiency can have the following additional benefits:
- longer working life for your equipment
- greater mobility - switching to laptops, for example, which use much less energy than desktop computers, can mean that staff become more flexible in where and when they work
- reduced need for mechanical ventilation and cooling - energy-efficient equipment and machines in stand-by mode run at lower temperatures
- lower carbon emissions and less impact on the environment
Office energy efficiency quick wins
There are certain simple steps you can take to reduce the amount of energy your office equipment uses. Most of these cost little or nothing to implement, take very little time, and require no special expertise. Even the smallest adjustments to the way you manage and use your office equipment can add up to significant energy savings.
Some examples of simple but effective ways to reduce energy consumption include:
- Computers and monitors - ensure that monitors are switched off when users are away from their desks for more than ten minutes. Use power saving settings to do this automatically wherever possible. Always switch off computers and monitors at the end of the day unless they need to remain on.
- Printers - as with computers, switch off all printers at the end of the day. A plug-in seven day timer could help to make sure they are not left on out of hours. When printing, use the most energy-efficient mode possible for the job - reduced quality, black and white and double-sided printing are more energy efficient. Avoid all unnecessary printing.
- Photocopiers - always make sure that copiers are switched off out of office hours. Enable all energy-saving standby features and encourage staff to do their copying in batches. Avoid all unnecessary copying.
- Vending machines - where possible reduce the holding temperature for hot water, and increase it for chilled water. Don't run refrigerated vending machines colder than they need to be. Consider removing any unnecessary lighting on the machine, and supply reusable mugs and cups to replace disposable items.
Long term office energy savings
Once you have decided on the simple steps you can take to reduce energy consumption, you can look into ways of making further savings. These include:
- upgrading to more energy-efficient equipment where appropriate
- setting up an equipment maintenance schedule - well maintained equipment lasts longer and works more efficiently
- drawing up an office policy on energy efficiency and ensuring that everyone follows it