1. Get an Energy AuditBefore you can find ways to conserve energy, you need to know your energy weak spots. An energy audit company can examine your office and evaluate your overall efficiency. Once the inspection is done, use the report to guide your energy-conscious actions and changes—and to keep track of your improvement.
2. Start an Energy NewsletterThe best way to get your employees to be more energy conscious is to provide ongoing education and encouragement. Start sending a weekly or monthly energy newsletter to your employees. Include eco-friendly tips and advice, and offer facts about the environment, energy consumption, and company trends. Don’t get too heavy or technical, though—keep the tips quick and easy to implement.
3. Update Office LightingMost buildings have anywhere from dozens to hundreds of lightbulbs that stay on all day and into the night—even when the office is closed. Replace your lights with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), which offer the energy efficiency of fluorescent fixtures and the convenience of incandescent lights. CFLs use about 75% less energy. You can also install motion sensors in conference rooms, bathrooms, empty offices, and other infrequently used spaces so the lighting automatically turns off when the room is not in use.
4. Replace Outdated AppliancesIf the break room fridge and office printer have been there since opening day, they’re likely not very energy-efficient models. While there’s no need to replace all of your office appliances at once, you can make a difference by choosing ENERGY STAR-rated options when it does come time to order new equipment. The ENERGY STAR office equipment program includes printers, copiers, computers, and monitors, many of which automatically power down after an extended period of inactivity, saving you a considerable amount of energy.
5. Create an Employee Energy CommitteeSome companies have event planning committees, but eco-conscious companies go one step further: they have energy committees. These groups, made up of a few volunteer employees, can focus on creating and managing energy-saving initiatives. At your company, an energy committee can also be in charge of finding new ideas for conserving energy, managing the energy newsletter, and monitoring the office’s greening progress.
6. Unplug When Possible“Vampire appliances”—electronic devices that use electricity even when turned off—can really drive up your overall energy bills. Encourage your employees to set their computers to sleep mode when on their lunch break or away from their desk, and to unplug at the end of the day. Provide each employee with a power strip so they can easily stop energy flow to all equipment at once.
7. Create a Rewards ProgramNothing inspires action quite like a little competition and incentive. Launch an energy-saving competition to encourage employees to reduce their consumption. You may offer a gift card or an hour of paid time off every month to the employee who recycles the most, uses the least amount of electricity, or wastes the fewest sheets of printer paper. Keep the results posted in the breakroom or another popular area to keep the competitive spirits going.
8. Be an Energy Role ModelAs a manager, it’s important to set a good example for your peers. Inspire action by serving as an energy role model who promotes positive energy practices for the office. Work with your management team or energy committee to brainstorm energy-saving strategies. The more your employees see you taking eco-working habits seriously, the more inclined they’ll be to follow suit. Employees and managers can have a huge impact on their companies’ energy use through ongoing initiatives, both big and small. Try launching a few of these practices at your workplace as soon as possible. You’d be amazed at how quickly you can start seeing the results of a more eco-conscious office culture.