Top 5 Ways for Commercial Buildings to Save Energy on Earth Day and Beyond
Energy Star estimates that a full 30% of the energy used in commercial buildings is wasted energy. It’s easy for employees to feel like they are not responsible for their energy consumption in a commercial building because they aren’t the ones paying the bills. Therefore, it’s up to management to take the necessary steps to reduce energy consumption, both through changes in operating practices and energy-efficient updates.
Here are five simple ways that your building can reduce its carbon footprint.
- Upgrade to LED lights
If your building still uses incandescent lightbulbs, you’re consuming drastically more electricity than you need to. LED lights are better for the environment, last much longer, and draw less power. You can increase your savings even more by adding motion sensors to your lights so that they automatically shut off when people are no longer occupying the room.
- Stop blasting the AC
By adjusting the temperature in your office space by just a few degrees, you can help significantly reduce your carbon footprint. As an added bonus, you’ll likely make many of your employees much happier. Recent studies have found that many American women are freezing in office buildings, a problem that can be easily fixed by turning the temperature up a couple of degrees. You can also improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling systems by having them tuned up at least once a year.
- Replace electric exit signs with photoluminescent exit signs
When most building owners think of exit signs for commercial buildings, they think of electric signs. Electric signs are actually the way of the past. Photoluminescent signs don’t draw any electricity, they can stay in place virtually maintenance free for more than 25 years, and they are just as safe — if not safer — than electric exit signs.
Whereas electric signs require complex wiring and installation, the occasional replacement of bulbs and battery packs, and a constant draw of electricity, photoluminescent signs simply gain energy from the ambient light that surrounds them in order to glow in excess of 90 minutes during blackout situations. Photoluminescent signs comply with the International Building Code and the International Fire Code and can help you bring down your operating costs as well as your carbon footprint substantially.
- Take advantage of sleep mode
Computers, printers, copiers, and other office hardware can draw significant energy when they are not in use. A simple and effective way to help minimize wasted energy on these office essentials is to enable power-save settings on each individual device. Require that your employees set their monitors to turn off after five minutes without use, and set all major appliances to go into sleep mode when they are not needed.
- Allow more employees to work from home
Telecommuting has major energy benefits. The less office space you take up, the less energy you’ll use, not to mention all the energy saved by each employee not driving into work. You’ll spend less on electricity, maintenance, food, and likely be left with happier employees.