We’ve all heard about the importance of energy efficiency or energy saving in our homes and vehicles, but what about businesses?
Energy efficiency is becoming more important for companies of all sizes, and there are many benefits to be gained – both financially and environmentally. In this blog post, we’ll look at what energy efficiency means in terms of business practices as well as how you can measure and control your organisation’s current level of business energy consumption.
Energy efficiency in the workplace – why it matters and the potential benefits for businesses
The benefits of energy efficiency in the workplace are numerous and can be significant. Firstly, reducing energy consumption can lead to cost savings for businesses, which can be particularly important in today’s competitive business environment.
For example, a study by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that an average office building can save up to 30% on energy costs through simple, low-cost actions, such as turning off lights and equipment when not in use. (US Environmental Protection Agency, 2019)
Why energy efficiency?
There are many benefits to focusing on energy efficiency in your workplace, including:
You’ll reduce the amount of money you spend on electricity, gas, and other utilities by being more efficient with your use of power. This can be a significant benefit if you’ve been paying large amounts for lighting or heating/ air conditioning. Find more details in the report “The Benefits of Energy Efficiency.” U.S. Department of Energy.
Reducing carbon emissions.
Your business and office building has a carbon footprint—the total amount of CO2 emitted by activities like commuting or making purchases—and that number is going up all the time as we burn fossil fuels to power homes and businesses around the world. By reducing how much energy you use, you’re also reducing how much CO2 gets released into our atmosphere and contributing towards lessening climate change!
Improved Indoor Air Quality:
Improved indoor air quality is an important benefit of energy efficiency. By improving airflow and ventilation, and reducing exposure to pollutants, employees can breathe easier and be more productive. In addition, reducing the amount of energy used to heat or cool the building can reduce the number of indoor pollutants, such as mold and mildew, which can cause respiratory issues. “Indoor Air Quality and Energy Efficiency: Interconnected Issues.” Environmental Protection Agency.
When employees work in an environment that is comfortable and conducive to their health, they are often more productive. Improved indoor air quality, a more comfortable temperature, and better lighting can all contribute to a more productive workplace. “Energy Efficiency and Employee Productivity.” Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Energy-efficient buildings are often more comfortable for employees. By reducing the amount of energy needed to heat or cool the building, employees can enjoy a more comfortable temperature, which can help to increase productivity.
Companies that are seen as being environmentally responsible and committed to sustainability often enjoy a better reputation, which can help to attract new customers and employees. “The Relationship between Energy Efficiency and Business Image.” Energy Star.
One of the most significant benefits of energy efficiency is the cost savings that can be achieved. By reducing energy use, companies can save money on utility bills and reduce their overall operating costs.
Energy efficiency – what does it mean for a business?
Energy efficiency in the office or business is the utilization of a minimum amount of energy to accomplish a task. This can be achieved through a variety of means, such as using more natural lights and reducing the use of artificial lights during day time, improving insulation to better control heating in offices and reduce heating costs, installing solar panels, and taking advantage of alternative energy sources.
Energy conservation, on the other hand, refers to the reduction in the use of resources like water or electricity that is necessary for day-to-day operations in an office environment. For example, if you’re running an office where employees are constantly printing documents at high volumes throughout the day, you may consider investing in paperless workstations for everyone (e.g., laptops) so that unnecessary printing doesn’t occur as often.
How do we measure the energy efficiency of Businesses?
Energy efficiency is measured by the amount of energy used compared to the amount that could have been used. This can be expressed as a ratio:
= (actual energy expenditure (kWh)) / (Benchmark usage)
The lower this ratio, the more efficient your processes are. There are several ways in which you can measure energy efficiency:
The benchmark usage might an industry standard for new/ similar equipment or with the implementation of an energy management system this will tracking usage of the equipment over time understand and compare consumption. We understand the complexity of this subject and will have a dedicated article on energy efficiency measures for businesses or offices shortly.
Whether you’re responsible for a multinational company with thousands of employees, or a small business; understanding how to manage your organisation’s energy consumption is important.
If you don’t know how much energy your business uses and where it goes, then how can you make sure that you are using as little as possible?
Energy efficiency is a cost-effective way to improve your business’s performance by reducing running costs and increasing productivity.
Steps to consider to reduce running costs and increase productivity
Here are some of the steps we consider important how to reduce energy usage in the workplace,
- Installing energy-efficient light bulbs
- Using smart power strips to reduce standby power consumption
- Implementing a computer power management policy to reduce energy consumption during non-business hours
- Implementing a comprehensive recycling program to reduce waste
- Upgrading insulation to reduce heating and cooling costs
Each of these steps can have a significant impact on reducing energy costs and carbon emissions. In addition, these energy-saving measures can also improve employee satisfaction and productivity by creating a more comfortable and sustainable working environment.
We hope this article has given you an insight into the importance of energy efficiency in the workplace. Energy efficiency is not only good for the environment but also for business. Only once you have carried some of these energy efficiency measures should you look to Renewable Energy sources, and we will be looking at this topic amongst others over the course of the coming months.
By reducing your carbon footprint and saving costs on utility bills, your organisation can gain a competitive advantage over those who aren’t taking action now.
If you would like to know about more about tools and techniques to track your business energy consumption, make sure you follow and read our detail blog below.
Assessing your business’s energy usage – tools and techniques for understanding and tracking your energy consumption.
- International Energy Agency. (2021). Energy Efficiency in the Workplace. https://www.iea.org/reports/energy-efficiency-in-the-workplace
- U.S. Department of Energy. (2021). Energy-Efficient Office Equipment and Lighting. https://www.energy.gov/energysaving/energy-efficient-office-equipment-and-lighting
- Energy Star. (2021). Energy-Efficient Commercial Buildings. https://www.energystar.gov/buildings/facility-owners-and-managers/existing-buildings/implement-recommendations/energy-efficient-commercial-buildings
- Natural Resources Defense Council. (2021). Energy Efficiency in the Workplace. https://www.nrdc.org/stories/energy-efficiency-workplace
- The Energy Collective. (2021). 5 Simple Ways to Make Your Office More Energy Efficient. https://theenergycollective.com/allen-kessler/2891201/5-simple-ways-make-your-office-more-energy-efficient
- Business Energy Advice. (2021). Workplace Energy Efficiency: Tips and Benefits. https://www.businessenergyadvice.co.uk/resources/guides/workplace-energy-efficiency-tips-and-benefits
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2021). ENERGY STAR for Small Business. https://www.energystar.gov/small-business
- European Commission. (2021). Energy Efficiency in the Workplace. https://ec.europa.eu/energy/en/topics/energy-efficiency/energy-efficiency-workplace
- Steps to Energy Efficiency https://www.seai.ie/business-and-public-sector/small-and-medium-business/steps-to-energy-efficienc/