It’s that time of the year again. A new year, a new you, or at least a new company energy efficiency policy. With the new American administration coming in on the 20th of January, and the most likely eminent likely dissolution of the U.S Environmental Protection Agency, we all need to do our bit to lower carbon emissions and save those cute polar bears from, well, the ice melting from beneath their feet, and them subsequently going extinct. Oh yeah, it can also save us all some money too!
Tip 1# Office equipment: Yes, it’s as exciting as it sounds
- This is the easiest tip in theory and the hardest in practice. It’s as simple as only switching on what you need, and enabling energy saving features on all equipment that boost them. By turning off computer monitors when you leave, you can save £37 per year per 17” monitor (screen savers rarely save energy). (Source: Practical energy efficiency advice for businesses, smart power: npower)
- A photocopy machine is a key money grabbing utensil when left ignored. You could be wasting £194 a year, simply by leaving a photocopier on at all times. By keeping it outside of air conditioned spaces, you could save £200 per year in warming up costs. Simply by photocopying in batches, you could save £190 per year, as they need to warm up enough in order to work. (Source: Practical energy efficiency advice for businesses, smart power: npower)
Tip 2# Buildings and heating
- Now the first one here is the most obvious; if you’re not using a room, turn the heaters off. Then all you have to do is close doors between heated and unheated areas, and you’re saving £40-80 on a £800 heating bill.
- In the summer, either keep the air-conditioning off or close the windows. Leaving the windows open allows warmer air into the room, in which the air-con is valiantly trying to keep the room cool. This will put unnecessary stress on the air-con, and actively have the opposite effect on cooling the room down.
- For every 1˚C of extra heat, your heating bill increases by around 8%. For offices 20ºC for is an acceptable temperature.
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Tip 3# And the Lord said “let there be a little less light”
- Check lighting levels, as you may have more light than you need. Removing an unnecessary 100-watt incandescent bulb could save about £20 a year. Even turning off unnecessary lights could save you running costs of £23 per year for a 58-watt fluorescent fitting. (Source: Practical energy efficiency advice for businesses, smart power: npower)
- Standard incandescent lamps are inefficient, generating 10%light and 90% heat. Swapping a 20-watt low-energy lamp in place of a 100-watt incandescent lamp could save you around £16 a year, per bulb.
Tip 4# Think before you print
- This is one of those that is actually quite well known, but little thought of rule. Do you really need to print a one lined email? You can save paper, toner/ink and energy by not printing emails and documents that aren’t strictly necessary. The energy alone could be worth around £6 or more per year, per printer.
- Printing on both sides, whenever possible, can save up to 40% of printing costs. That’s if you always print one-sided at least.
- In an ever advancing technological age, there are more ways than ever to save paper. Use online questionnaire forms, share documents via google sheets, use better, more organised information systems, so people can easily find the documents they are looking for.
- Remember not all inks are created equal. In an infographic created by Pixartprinting , it shows that Garamond and Times New Roman are the most efficient fonts. Comic Sans and Helvetica are the least — they use almost 1/3 more ink to print. There are even new Eco fonts available now, for example, Ryman Stationery, an office supply chain store in the UK, has created what they call “the world’s most beautiful sustainable font.” Ryman Eco is a free font that uses 33% less ink than standard fonts and looks gorgeous doing it. (Source: http://www.companyfolders.com/blog/5-ink-saving-eco-fonts)
Tip 5# The future could be in microgeneration
- Businesses are now being encouraged by the UK government to invest in small-scale electricity generation – from mini wind turbines and solar panels to tapping energy from on-site hydro sources and installing anaerobic digestion units.
- The Feed-in Tariff (FIT) scheme became effective on 1 April 2010. FIT is a ‘clean energy cash-back’ scheme designed to incentivise businesses and households to invest in small-scale renewable technologies in return for guaranteed payments.
- Plummeting solar costs mean that solar panels are still cost effective and will deliver earnings and savings of around £8,080 over 20 years on average. From 2016, typical return on investment for solar panels is a healthy 4.8% over 20 years. They make the money back from installation costs in energy savings after 6-9 years (which in Northern England is leaning more towards the 9).
When you have a bit of downtime, want some light bedtime reading, or you have 10 minutes to kill on a toilet break, here’s a complete guide from npower on how to save both the money in your pocket and Gaia as a whole: