Energy Conservation in the Office or at work

Energy Conservation in the Office or at work

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I had a GREAT interview with Alan Magnus and Paula-Anne Porter this morning on RJR 94Fm. We spoke about a few topics including: Renewable energy, Robotics and Energy conservation. I have requested the audio file which I’ll upload as a Podcast for persons who didn’t have the chance to tune in. This article is the 2nd in the series of energy conservation. Here are some tips to save energy in Your office or business place.

In these trying economic times it makes good business sense to eliminate unnecessary and avoidable expenses. One method of streamlining finances is to reduce energy usage in the office. Increasing energy efficiency is the easiest way to reduce costs and, according to the Carbon Trust, could save up to 20% of a business’ energy bill.1  The Government of Jamaica in 2012 pays about $1.2 billion (JMD) per month for electricity for all its ministries, departments and agencies [2]. Regardless of how you chose to look at this figure Jamaican citizens are responsible for paying for this commodity through taxes and fees. It is therefore imperative that each Jamaican working for a public or private entity conserve on their energy usage to reduce the over head costs with the best interest of the company and nation building at heart.

Here are some simple and easy tips that will save you big bucks in the short and long term.

Lighting – When installing new lighting, ensure that lights in darker areas or more remote areas, can be switched on and off independently of other lights. It might be annoying to have a switch for every single light fixture but a major reason why employees don’t turn off lights is because a single switch controls 10 lights. Consequently persons interested in saving energy for their personal space impedes other co-workers when trying to conserve.

Open Windows – Using natural lighting whenever possible will help with lighting and the movement of air, keeping your office cool and bright. Keep windows clean and suggest that employees open blinds before reaching for the light switch.

Lighting Technology – Lights that are fitted presence detection mechanisms are great for areas that are not in constant use such as restrooms and storage areas. Even though it is usually not a problem for persons to turn the lights on when entering these areas, frequently persons forget to turn the lights off when leaving or unconsciously chose not to since they are mere employees and are not responsible for the institutions monthly energy bills.Remember to think of the cost savings of a product by the end of its lifecycle. Energy efficient light bulbs may be more expensive initially, but they will save in the long run.

Office Equipment – When purchasing new equipment ensure that it has the Energy Star (USEPA) standard or an equivalent.Purchase multipurpose equipment. Get a printer, scanner, fax machine and copier in one as this single piece of equipment will consume less energy and less space in your office rather than three or four separate devices.
Donate older equipments such as computers and printers to schools, community centres  churches and non-profits as this will delay them ending up in our landfills. Forget about using screen savers. It is far more efficient to use the power down settings available, or to encourage staff to switch off their computer monitors when away from their desks.

One of the most important ways to ensure the efficiency of your equipment and machinery is to keep them maintained at all times. Monitor your machinery regularly to make sure that it is worked smoothly. An inefficient machine may consume up to 40% more energy than a well operated one. You may consider a bi-annual scheduled maintainance, its best to detect the problem before it occurs, prevention is always better than cure and will intern cost you and your enterprise less per month

Unpug and Turn Off – Do not leave any office equipment on overnight.  Plugging all your equipment into power strips makes it easier to turn them all off when not in use. It also eliminates standby power consumption. Why pay for electricity you’re not even using. Once your cell phones and laptops are charged, unplug them and they’re battery chargers and power adapters as well.

Share printers as much as possible. This will mean having less printers sitting idle and requires fewer printers to be purchased as well. Print on both sides of the paper to reduce paper costs and save the trees that purify our air. Avoid leaving any equipment on ‘stand by’ mode. It will still use energy and should be switched off instead.
Print in Bulk A typical printer may use up to 15% of its energy to warm up for the next printing job. Warming up is the hmmm-ummm-whir-whir-whim-chi-chin-ching-cling sound that you hear that may continue for a few minutes. Some printer model only warm up immediately after turning on, others warm up before each print. Ink cartridge has to be at a specific temperature before printing. Warm up time will be longer for colder environment and areas where Air Condition levels are high. Another cool reason to open your windows and turn the AC off.

Allow print jobs to queue until lets say 20 pages are ready to be printed before running print job. This can be done by changing a few settings with the on board interface of newer printer models or with the network settings of older models without on board user interface. This allows the printer to work a lot faster compared to doing a single page for an employee and also to use a lot less energy. Consider queuing 10 jobs with 50 pages vs printing 5 pages each time this change over will save about 10% when compared with warming up each time. If an employee needs a print job immediately he/she can always bypass the queue, if the job can wait then queuing will save a lot of energy for the company.

Conclusion

You might not be the person responsible for the paying the companies energy bill nor is your salary affected if it is sky-rocketed or not. But simple incentives like awarding energy saving department or giving a bonus when the bill is below a treshold can change that and induce an environment of I want to conserve in your company. Energy is everybody’s business, whether you are rewarded or not, do our island a favor reduce oil importation and start conserving today!

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