There is clearly a growing concern over the vast amount of energy that is being wasted and having a harmful effect on the environment. Much of our current energy sources rely heavily on fossil fuels and nuclear power. But progressively managed offices and factories are exploring ways to become more energy efficient.
Tapping into cleaner sources and saving energy is very much a matter of using ingenuity. The technology is now available to assist you but very few businesses know about it. And in some cases it’s quite simple. For example, insulated windows can save heating costs by reducing the need for heat during the winter.
Here are a few more tips for cutting down on energy waste.
Office buildings can now use the latest in commercial lighting designed to reduce energy output by more than 50 percent. Compact fluorescent lights for overhead illumination and even standing lamps use one-quarter as much energy as incandescent bulbs and last 10 times longer. In addition, office buildings should use minimal lighting when businesses are closed. Another energy-saving tip is to paint dark walls and ceilings with lighter colors to maximize the effect of existing lighting. Dark walls require more power to produce the same amount of light.
Small and home-based businesses can also benefit by using natural lighting through skylights and bay windows, thus reducing the need for as many lights during daytime hours.
As of July 2007, Energy Star, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency program designed to promote energy efficiency, released new specifications for computers. Buying products with the Energy Star label is the starting point for going greener with your computers and peripherals. The new Energy Star models are expected to cut energy costs by nearly $2 billion over the next five years and cut down greenhouse gas emissions by an amount equal to the emissions of more than 2.5 million vehicles.
Having computers in sleep mode saves more energy than screensavers, and turning computers off when not in use is certainly beneficial. You should also note that ink jet printers use less energy than lasers, and LCD monitors are the most efficient. Additionally, workstations can be made from sustainable, earth-friendly products, and office furnishings can be maintained to have a longer lifetime. Old toner cartridges can be recycled and computers can be passed down for future use.
Heating and Air Conditioning
Offices and factories need to become more energy compliant when it comes to temperature control. Using steam heat can reduce fuel costs by nearly 10 percent. Solar panels, which transform sunlight into electricity, are another underutilized but highly efficient choice.
If possible, business owners should start replacing their air conditioning with Energy Star–approved systems. For heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems already in place, setting timers or using programmable thermostats can make sure that the system is turned off when the facility is not open.
Of course, all of this starts by having a plan and taking an assessment of your current energy situation and future needs. Much of the approach to environmental health starts with thinking of alternative solutions. This means taking the initiative and making changes, even starting with the small ones, such as turning off lights in vacant stores or offices.