Energy saving in the work place: what can you do?

Energy saving in the work place: what can you do?

Recent research has revealed that 68 per cent of workers in the UK claim to care about energy efficiency in the work place.

The British Gas Business survey, carried out by YouGov, also found that 22 per cent of these workers said they care ‘a great deal’ about saving energy at work. Almost two thirds of those who responded confirmed that their company does make an effort to save energy.

The hospitality and leisure industry ranked as the most conscientious, with 82 per cent of workers in the sector stating that they care about energy saving. Financial services ranked a close second, at 77 per cent.

Despite this, less than half of workers believe that their company follows simple energy saving procedures, such as switching off all lights and computer screens when not in use. With less than one in five workers saying their company conducts a regular energy audit, it’s clear that we could be doing more to save energy in the work place.


Energy saving methods

There are many ways in which companies can decrease their office’s energy consumption. Simple but important methods can play a vital role when it comes to saving energy on lighting, heating, and other electrical appliances.

It’s important to make sure that no sources of heat are blocked, at this prevents the heat from circulating around the room. Keeping all windows and doors closed also ensures that no heat goes to waste. Where possible, avoid heating areas where employees do not spend much time, for example, corridors.

When it comes to saving energy on lighting, the key is to remember the simplest tasks. Where possible, use daylight rather than artificial light sources. Offices often have lights on despite having large windows – this is a common way in which energy is wasted. Select the bulbs you use carefully, too. Slim line fluorescent tubes can sometimes be used as replacements for older tubes, using 25 per cent less electricity.

If your work is computer-based, switching off screens during lunch breaks can help prevent the creation of excess heat. Avoid leaving electrical items on stand-by, as this consumes up to 70 per cent of regular energy usage.


Working together to save energy

If companies and their employees join together to make a conscientious effort to carry out these simple tasks, they would find themselves saving money, as well as energy.

“Switching electrical equipment off properly rather than leaving it on standby will make a noticeable difference to monthly bills,” said Martin Orrill, head of technology and innovation at British Gas Business.

Stuart Rolland, managing director at British Gas Business, said: “Actually understanding your business’ energy consumption can seem a daunting task [but] it goes without saying that every senior manager in a business ought to know what their energy costs are.”

Liz Ainslie, environmental consultant at Hosking Associates, believes meeting with staff to discuss energy consumption is a good way of changing employee behaviour when it comes to saving energy.

She said: “A great way to change behaviour is to meet with all the staff to find out why they leave equipment on at night if they care about saving energy.  Sometimes people are unaware how much energy a monitor in standby uses.”

“People generally aren’t uncaring, they are sometimes just unaware of what they can do in a workplace or why they should change their behaviour.  Once they are aware, they can work with the building manager to look at further ways of reducing energy usage in the workplace,” she added.

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