It is common knowledge that we should conserve electricity both at home as well in office. But the hard reality is that despite that knowledge we do not act proactively. Interestingly, even if we are conscious about the electricity consumption at home, we are equally ignorant about the energy consumption in office.

Ironically, every year business establishments end up paying millions by running electronic appliances in the office for as long as the office is open each day, resulting in gross wastage of energy.

Save energy in office

Which appliances actually consume energy in the office?

Although it may not occur to us, office appliances consume a lot of energy even when they are not in use. Specifically, for example, the internet servers and landline phones run the entire day. The following list of items with their average annual energy consumption can act as a ready reckoner to shake our consciousness and spur us into action:

  • Air conditioners – 4000 W
  • Desktop computers – 100 W
  • Servers – 1000 W
  • Light bulbs – 60 W
  • Running projectors – 300 W
  • Running printers – 50 W
  • Standby photocopiers – 700 W
  • Desk fans – 50 W
  • Laptops – 50W
  • Computer monitor – 25 W
  • Tablets (charge) – 10 W
  • Broadband routers – 10 W
  • Mobile phone charge – 5 W
  • Cordless landline phones – 5 W

Tips on how to reduce and conserve energy in the office

Saving energy is not rocket science – here are some practical tips you can implement at your earliest convenience:

1. Switch off appliances when not in use

This is simple and there should not be any problem executing it. Additionally, in view of the fact that heating and air conditioning gadgets consume a significant amount of energy, appropriate adjustments of their thermostats in winter and summer can go a long way in cutting energy cost for businesses.

2. Lighting

Turn off lights when absent for a long time, and in the evening before leaving office. Also, it may be a good idea to use natural light by adjusting our work desks perpendicularly to the window. Another idea could be to install motion sensors to control lighting in certain rooms.

3. Printer and copier

Equip the office with a multifunction device such as printer/photocopier/scanner – all in one. It makes a lot of sense to connect all computers to a network printer and copier rather than providing each station with an individual printer. Additionally, use the photocopier to copy rather than print in large quantities.

4. Don’t leave computer monitors on

Use the sleep mode discreetly, because a computer on standby still sucks up to 20 to 40% of power when switched on. Besides, avoid screen savers that use 3D effects because they can consume even more energy than active mode.

5. Upgrade equipment for better energy management

Newer equipment is generally more energy efficient – so, consider investing in equipment with low energy consumption, especially those that are Energy Star-certified.

6. Use smart technologies to control devices remotely

Thanks to AI, you can now make your devices “smarter” by enabling those to operate based on certain rules you set out.  For example, your smart lighting is turned on when you’re around and will be turned off automatically when it detects no movement nearby; another example would be your thermostat; you can set yours so that it will set the temperature based on the changes of room temperature during the day.

7. Portable devices

Chargers of portable devices should not be left in the socket because they continue to consume energy till such time they are connected. When choosing equipment, choose equipment that is energy-efficient.

8. Office layout

Heating comfort can be enhanced if workstations are placed away from the exterior walls or windows; the cold wall effect in winter or overheating in summer is thus avoided if insulation is adequate.

9. Traveling

Business travel and commuting also generate pollutants along with greenhouse gases. It is possible to limit travel by using modern technology such as organising telephone meetings. For daily trips, we can get to work on foot or by bike; if the commute is longer, we should take advantage of the public transport.

More ideas…

In addition to what has been mentioned above, a few more energy saving ideas can be adopted to reap the benefits of energy management:

  • In summer, open windows instead of using air conditioning
  • Consider installing skylights or large exterior windows
  • If it is sunny outside, use sunlight to light your office
  • Use blinds strategically to block out the hot summer sun
  • Unplug electronic devices when they aren’t being used

Check out this energy usage guide from Utility Bidder for more info:

Office energy usage - infographic by Utility Bidder