When it comes to small business electricity management, impacting your energy bill must be a group effort. The energy usage of a small business can be made of dozens of individual devices, outlets, and patterns of use. To make a real difference, you’re going to need the cooperation of nearly every employee.
The good news is that employees tend to be very enthusiastic about energy efficient policies. Millennials are surprisingly ecologically conscious and in favour of any small business effort to improve practices and enhance sustainability. When you’re seeking people to work with on your energy efficiency efforts, look no further than your employees and colleagues. Here are just a few ways that you can introduce energy-saving practices to the workplace, and that’s before the parties, games, and contests that can really get an eco-friendly initiative going.
1) Closing Doors and Windows
Commercial building HVAC is a powerful thing that effectively creates a slightly higher air pressure than the atmosphere outside and is why there is a mighty ‘whoosh’ when you open an office building, shop, or restaurant door. Unfortunately, that ‘whoosh’ is a great deal of your hot or cold conditioned air escaping as new outside air is let in. The longer the external doors remain open, the more of the building HVAC’s hard work is undone.
Therefore, one of the best ways employees can lend a hand in reducing power bill costs is simply to keep the doors and windows closed. While it might be tempting to prop a rock in the back door during break time or open an office window to let in some fresh air, these should be closed promptly and all open apertures should be closed when found to prevent HVAC waste.
2) Heat Lunch Together
Employees often eat lunch together, but they heat their meals one at a time in the microwave, on the stove, or in the oven. When possible, encourage employees to heat their meals together at the same time. Microwave meals and snacks may be small enough to heat together on the same cycle. Employees who have instant meals and boil water to make them can share kettles or pots of boiling water. The oven, though power-hungry, is also the easiest to share between several employee lunches at a mutual temperature and is a great way to get hot sandwiches that were packed at home.
3) Temperature-Flexible Dress Code
One great way to give yourself a little more efficient thermostat freedom, setting it warmer in the summer and cooler in the winter, is to encourage the staff to wear more weather-appropriate clothing as long as it’s also still business appropriate. Welcome jumpers and woolly socks in the winter for employees who get cold at the lower setting and suggest the guys wear short-sleeved button-ups in the summer instead of the very warm dress shirt and blazer combination. Inviting blankets and icy water bottles can also help employees self-regulate without power-hungry fans and space heaters.
4) Lights-Off Patrols
Another approach to involving your staff in energy efficiency efforts is to form patrols, assign them territories, and reward good work. Lights-off patrols can get together at the end of the day and hunt down every light that was left on. We suggest using an office map and encouraging the teams to make note of where each light found on was. This is not only a great way to get the lights off at night, it can also clue you in on who is leaving their lights on so you can go make a private recruit to the energy efficiency team effort. Patrols are also a good answer to phantom load if you do not yet have a smart outlet solution.
5) Solar Phone Charging at the Windowsills
Solar power is a popular universal approach to energy efficiency and sustainability, but you don’t have to have a huge roof or field installation to start going solar. Set up a line of solar-powered charging stations on windowsills that get drenched in morning or afternoon sunlight and encourage the team to use them. It’s a great way to use the sun instead of your wall outlets and gives everyone an excuse to soak up some Vitamin D when they go to charge, check on, or retrieve their phones.
Your phone charger collection can also be joined by AA and AAA battery chargers for desk gadgets, another way to relieve outlet-use. A set of solar-charging flashlights off to one side even makes a great emergency backup lighting plan in case of power outages.
Of course, if you’ve been counting along you know that this is only the first half of our two-part article. Join us next time for the second half where we’ll talk about scavenger hunts, inventions, LEDs, and more.