The effects of our impact on the environment have never been as clear as now — plastics churning in the ocean, extreme weather changes, and toxic air quality meaning London had hit its yearly pollution quota in less than a month. Now more than ever, the public and businesses are acutely aware of their responsibility to protect the planet for now and future generations.
For businesses, it can seem like a lot of extra work to keep the company energy efficient and eco-aware. But as well as keeping you compliant, maintaining a level of environmental awareness can save your business money in the long run. You don’t need to spend a lot of money straight away to start being eco-friendlier either. This article will take you through some of the ways you can make your existing appliances and practices greener.
No overnight standby
If, like many businesses in this day and age, you have a fair number of computers, monitors, television screens or the like, make sure your staff are shutting down their computers fully before leaving. Equipment left on standby can use around 50% of the electricity they would use when in operation. If it’s not going to be used for a while, the equipment should be switched off entirely.
Pop up signs in the office to remind employees to switch everything off before they go home for the day, and have a supervisor do a check around before they leave too. This simple tip will save you money on your business’ bills, as well as taking a step towards being more environmentally friendly.
A matter of degrees
Generally speaking, boilers have a lifespan of around 15 years. If your boiler isn’t quite that old yet, however, there are still steps you can take to making it more energy efficient.
If you’re not already in the habit of having the heating turned off when the office is empty overnight, do so. You can always set a timer for the heating to come on an hour or so before the first staff members arrive, so they aren’t walking into a freezing workplace.
Also, try knocking the thermostat down just a degree or two. It’s unlikely to make a huge difference to the comfort of the workplace, but even just one degree lower can save you money and energy.
If it is time to replace your boiler, be sure to look for schemes — for example, the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has recently launched the Cleaner Heat Cashback scheme for small and medium-sized businesses in order to support them in replacing older boilers with newer, eco-friendly systems.
The office canteen
It’s easy to forget the appliances we have at work need the same care as their at-home counterparts. Just as your home fridge needs a little attention, so too does the work canteen’s fridge!
A fridge should last for around 10 to 20 years before it needs replacing, but if you reckon your workplace fridge is past its best, be sure to opt for an eco-friendly model; there’s loads of energy-efficient models on the market right now.
For now, we’ll focus on your current canteen fridge. When was the last time the coils were cleaned? It’s likely been a while, but according to Architectural Digest, cleaning a fridge’s coils can make for a more energy-efficient machine.
The cleaning process is fairly simple:
- Turn off the fridge
- Put on gloves to protect your hands
- Locate the appliance’s coils (usually, they are at the back, top, or bottom of the fridge)
- Remove the base grill if the coils are on the top or bottom or pull the fridge out carefully to access the coils if they are located at the back
- Take a refrigerator coil brush and clean out the dirt and debris that has accumulated on the coils
- Clean the floor around the appliance before putting it back in place
Also, does your workplace canteen have a dishwasher? It’s good practice to wait for a full load before setting the dishwasher off, so encourage employees to stack it to a full load rather than washing in bursts. For the last load of the working day, you could leave the door of the dishwasher open to let the dishes air dry overnight instead of using the energy-hungry drying cycling.
The office air conditioning unit is no doubt a much-loved addition to the workplace, as it keeps your staff working at a comfortable temperature. After all, working in a too-warm or too-cold environment will stall progress and hamper workplace morale. So, don’t neglect the hard-working appliance — give it a check over every so often to make sure it is running to the best of its ability.
Your best bet is to get a professional to inspect your workplace’s air conditioning units to be sure that everything is running efficiently, as well as confirming that it is still effective. One of the most obvious key signs that it’s time for a check over is if the unit is making strange noises.
Of course, newer models tend to be more energy efficient, but as you can see, your company’s current appliances can still work greener with the proper care and attention. When replacement becomes unavoidable though, take some time to look at the energy-efficiency of models and view it as an investment to saving money and energy in the long run for your business.