Energy bills can be some of the most difficult expenses to keep under control in an office. With many moving parts and people being a part of the equation, it can be tough to pinpoint where exactly your energy losses might be, and how to combat them. And while overhauling your building with the latest and greatest energy efficiencies might sound like a nice pipedream, it can take years to be able to afford the kinds of upgrades your office building may need.
Luckily, not every energy-saving effort costs a pretty penny - check out these 5 energy saving tips for office buildings to start saving more on energy costs:
How to Save on Energy in Your Office Building
1. Install occupancy sensors
We know what you’re thinking - any tip starting with the word “install” is bound to be expensive, right? Wrong. Occupancy sensors are one of the easiest and most affordable ways to save energy in an office building.
According to Michigan.gov, occupancy sensors can cost anywhere between $30 and $130 per unit. Occupancy sensors often have a payback period between 6 months to a year, making them a great way to reduce electricity consumption in your office affordably.
Plus, you don’t have to place one in every room - when used strategically in places like break rooms, bathrooms and conference rooms, you can maximize your office energy savings while minimizing the impact on your wallet.
2. Establish good energy-saving habits
Human error is often one of the biggest causes of energy waste in office buildings. Lights being left on, break room fridges not being shut tightly and so many other things can add up, leading to majorly overinflated energy bills. However, by establishing policies aimed at energy reduction, you and your staff can help make a dent in these energy losses.
A few simple ways to save energy in the office include:
- Establish a “last one out” policy: If your office hours tend to vary for your employees, make sure everyone understands that the last person out is responsible for turning lights out.
- Post signs: A few strategically-placed reminders near light switches, faucets and doors are an easy way to help prevent unnecessary energy losses in your office.
- Turn off and unplug electronics: Many people tend to leave computers and other electronics powered on indefinitely. However, leaving a computer on and plugged in, even when fully charged, can use about 235 kilowatt-hours per year, more electricity than the average person uses in an entire year in Cambodia, according to the New York Times. Having employees turn off and unplug electronics and appliances can add up to a lot of energy savings for your office in the long run.
- Conduct an ENERGY STAR Treasure Hunt: The U.S. government’s ENERGY STAR program has created its own checklist to help office owners find areas to improve upon their energy efficiency: an Energy Treasure Map for Offices. Send this checklist to your teammates and encourage them to keep an eye out for ways to increase your office’s energy efficiency. You could even offer a prize to the coworker who finds the most!
3. Upgrade exit signs
Because exit signs must be lit 24/7, it pays to make sure your office is using the most efficient models possible. In fact, depending on the current electricity rate your business is receiving*, a single incandescent exit sign could cost you more than $30 per year in energy bills.
Plus, because incandescent lamps don’t last as long as more efficient bulbs, you could end up paying an additional $24 per sign per year in bulb replacements - a total of almost $55 annually, multiplied by the total number of exit lights in your building.
However, LED exit signs use only one to five watts of power, which can cost less than $5 annually to operate, and they last much, much longer than their incandescent counterparts.
New LED signs can cost between $30 to $250 to install, but the lifetime cost savings can be significant. Over a 10-year period, an LED sign would cost approximately one-fifth of the cost of an incandescent sign, making this upgrade a great way to reduce your office’s electricity consumption.
*Not sure what you're currently paying for electricity? Talk to an energy expert today to learn more about your rate options:Talk to an Energy Expert
4. Perform regular HVAC maintenance
Keeping your HVAC well-maintained in the short run can reduce your HVAC (and energy) spending in the long run.
A few HVAC fixes that can help save electricity in the office include:
- Sweeping out dirty vents and ducts: In addition to being bad for your lungs, dirty ducts and vents can make it harder for your system to keep your office at the perfect temperature, which can lead to energy losses. Registers and vents should be kept dirt-free and clean always - if you can see dust on them, it’s best to clean it off ASAP. Meanwhile, ducts should be cleaned every three to five years for proper airflow and air quality.
- Cleaning condenser coils: Dust can heat up your HVAC coils, causing them to work harder than they need to. Make sure you clean your condenser coils (or have a pro do it) at least once a year.
- Swapping out clogged filters: This should be done once a month, especially during winter and summer months, to avoid overworking your system and wasting energy.
5. Keep an eye on your energy rates
Do you know what your business is paying for electricity or natural gas? If you live in a state that allows energy choice, you have the ability to choose a better rate for your office.
In deregulated states, if you have not chosen a supplier, your utility will assign you to a variable rate - this means that the price you pay for energy is subject to change every single day. A major benefit to selecting your own energy supplier is that business owners can choose a fixed-rate plan, making it simpler to predict and budget for energy spending.
Finding a better energy rate is a simple way to give your office energy savings an added boost, and keep you price-protected through energy price swings. The best part? Selecting a new supplier is free.
Make your office energy savings go the extra mile
Choosing a new energy rate is free and easy with the right help. If you’re not sure what your current energy rate is, or if you have the ability to shop around, call the energy experts at Integrity Energy. Our fully-staffed team is here to answer any questions you may have and make the switching process a simple one.
See why over 40,000 businesses have trusted Integrity Energy with their energy choice, and start shopping rates from over 30 major suppliers in just a few clicks - request a free quote online now.