A no-cost approach to energy-saving can reduce energy bills for office-based companies by as much as 20%—without compromising staff comfort.
With energy one of the largest controllable overheads in office buildings, reducing office energy consumption makes perfect business sense; it saves money, improves working conditions (which can increase staff productivity) and reduces carbon emissions, which enhances corporate reputation.
Yet minimising gas and electricity costs in a busy office environment during the winter months can seem like a challenge. With electrical equipment to run—not to mention heating pushing gas and electricity bills higher—itmight seem as if your bills are beyond your control.
Optimising office energy efficiency
The cheapest energy is the energy you don’t use, but many office-based small and medium sized companies under-estimate the extent to which simple actions can save energy, cut costs and increase productivity. By focusing on low and zero-cost measures, you’ll be amazed at the savings you can make with the quickest payback without compromising staff comfort.
Minimise the cost of heating, regardless of which system is in place
Heating accounts for 20-40% of energy costs in a typical office environment, which means that there are big opportunities to make savings, with some businesses shaving up to a third off their heating costs through the implementation of some simple energy-saving measures.
Reducing heating temperatures by just 1°C can cut fuel consumption by 8%—in a large office this can save enough energy to print over 40 million sheets of A4 paper.
Consider comfort and temperatures
The recommended temperature for offices and sedentary work is 21–23°C. However, when setting temperatures, it may be sufficient to set thermostats to 19-20°C, since internal heat gains from equipment and lighting will bring the temperature up to a level that most workers find comfortable.
Match working hours
Check that system operating hours match the times when heating is required and use inexpensive time controls to automatically switch off the heating at the end of a work day.
Some signs of poor control include:
- Heating remains on when the building is unoccupied, because timers are not set correctly
- Heating is on too high or not high enough, because the thermostat is located where sunlight, radiators or office equipment affect its reading
Rather than relying solely on controls, ensure settings are reviewed every month. Often, simple adjustments to the location and control settings can reduce costs without affecting staff comfort.
Heating system control can be problematic with old, inefficient time controls. Upgrades can pay for themselves very quickly through energy and cost savings.
Certain heating systems now automatically adjust themselves to the weather. These include a compensator, which automatically regulates the heating temperature based on the weather, and an optimum start controller, which brings the heating on at the optimal time prior to building occupancy.
Keep systems clear and unobstructed
Clear radiators, fans and ducts of furniture and other obstructions, keep fans and ducts clean, and replace any filters at manufacturers’ recommended intervals.
Maintain boilers and pipe work
A regularly serviced boiler can save as much as 10% on annual heating costs. Gas-fired boilers should be serviced once a year; oil boilers twice a year. Furthermore, boilers, hot water tanks, pipes and valves should be insulated to prevent heat escaping.
Simple energy solutions with a big payoff
Combined, these no-cost solutions help you save money, increase your staff productivity, and reduce your carbon footprint—all of which enhances your Triple D bottom line.