Around the Office

Maintain and Upgrade Your Lighting

Lighting accounts for 25–30 percent of an office's energy consumption. By turning off lights when not needed, performing regular maintenance, and installing upgrades, you can save significant energy and lower your electric bill. Upgrade to Energy Star commercial light fixtures that use at least 75 percent less energy and last 10–50 times longer than incandescent lighting, reducing maintenance costs. Install occupancy sensors in proper locations to automatically turn off lighting when no one is present and back on when people return. Adjust lighting to your actual needs; use free daylight.

Tune Up Your Heating and Cooling Systems

Heating and cooling typically account for 25 percent of an office building's energy use. Save energy and money by tuning up your heating, ventilating, and air conditioning system annually. Systems will decline in performance without regular maintenance. Change or clean filters every month during peak cooling or heating seasons. Make sure that areas in front of vents are clear of furniture and paper. As much as 25 percent more energy is required to distribute air if your vents are blocked.

Upgrade to ENERGY STAR Electronics

When you replace electronics, look for the Energy Star label. Thousands of electronic products have earned that label and use less energy, save money, and help protect the environment without sacrificing quality or performance. They can dramatically save energy—as much as 75 percent savings for some products. Overall, Energy Star-labeled office products use about half the electricity of standard equipment.

Activate the Power-Management Features on Your Computer and Monitor

Power management features place computers and monitors (the CPU, hard drive, etc.) into a low-power “sleep mode” after a designated period of inactivity. Activating power management features is easy. Simply hitting a key on the keyboard or moving the mouse awakens the computer in a matter of seconds. “Sleep settings” save up to $35 per computer annually.

Utilize Smart Power Strips

Many electronic products continue to draw power even when they are powered off. Since it's not always practical to unplug these items whenever you leave your desk, “smart” power strips can effectively do so for you. There are three types of smart power strips:

  • Timer-equipped power strips have outlets that are controlled by programmable timers. Devices plugged into them can be scheduled to automatically turn off or on at designated times.
  • Occupancy-sensing power strips have outlets that are controlled by a motion detector. Devices plugged into them can automatically turn off in response to your physical absence, or after a user-defined period of time elapses—anywhere from 30 seconds to 60 minutes.
  • Current sensing power strips can automatically turn several outlets off or on when they detect that a monitor (plugged into the “master outlets”) either enters a low-powered sleep mode, is turned off, or is turned on. Used in combination with monitor power-management features, these power strips can turn just about any electric device off and on automatically.

Reduce Your Unwanted Mail

Each year junk mail, including unsolicited mail to businesses, ends up as more than four tons of solid waste. E-mail direct-marketing companies to remove your name or those of former employees from their mailing lists. Some companies have websites that allow for removal. The Direct Marketing Association’s Mail Preference Service also lets you opt out of receiving unsolicited commercial mail from many national companies for five years. By taking your name off marketing mailing lists, you can help reduce waste.