Encouraging energy efficiency in the workplace
Encouraging energy efficiency in the workplace
Businesses haven't been exempt from rising electricity prices, which is why it is now more important than ever to get staff involved in becoming more energy efficient.
Small-scale changes could be just what you need to make a big difference to your bills, helping improve your bottom line while giving you the knowledge that your company is doing its bit for the environment. Firms that are eco-aware generally have a better public perception than those that are not, so you could find the benefits are more far-reaching than you first expected.
There are all sorts of ways in which you can encourage an eco-friendly culture in your business, so here are some ideas to help you along the way.
Raise awareness about energy efficiency
A few posters around your workplace can help people realise why they need to make an effort to improve their environmental friendliness. Perhaps provide some stats on global water usage or how many trees are cut down each year to meet the world's need for paper - any information you can find will give food for thought. Where you put the posters is just as important as what facts are displayed, so be strategic. Paper-related information might be best placed close to the printer or photocopier, while water usage stats are most likely to be effective in the kitchen or bathroom.
Here's a short video that sends a message about powering down those computers and turning off unnecessary lights.
Get people involved
Many employees don't like being dictated to, so try and involve them in any discussions you might have over environmental best practice. The fact is that your workforce may have some good ideas of their own that you hadn't even considered, potentially giving your efforts a new direction. Scheduling regular meetings throughout the year - perhaps quarterly - can help update staff on their efforts and give a platform where new ways forward can be discussed. You may even want to think about producing an end of year report on the positive steps you have made - has your paper order decreased? What sustainable energy technology have you adopted over the past 12 months? Keeping people in the loop can pay off in the long run, so don't be afraid to get them involved.
Making an organisation completely energy efficient is no easy task, so don't have too high a expectations in the early stages. Small changes can often contribute to a bigger result, so decide where you are going to start with your efforts and build up from there. This is another way in which staff can get involved - ask them to change just one aspect of their everyday working life that will benefit the environment.They might decide to reduce the amount of sheets they print in an average day, or pledge to switch the lights off in a room that is not in use.
You will be surprised just how much of a difference these seemingly small changes can make - you could get everyone to make a new pledge at the start of each month and move forward from there.
Get the temperature right
One of the greatest expenses for any business will be heating and cooling costs - and keeping an entire workforce happy can be tough.
Some people may find the temperature too hot, while others could feel a little on the chilly side - choosing the lowest setting possible will give your bills a boost, but you may find yourself with unhappy staff.
Experimenting with the heating and cooling systems can therefore be a worthwhile task, giving you the chance to establish the best temperature for your office.
During the winter, make sure you eliminate any draughts that might cause the property to cool down quicker - windows and doors are the biggest culprits.
When the summer comes around, encourage workers to open windows to allow fresh air to circulate, rather than switching on the air conditioning - your company accounts will thank you for it!
Address transportation options
The way in which your staff get to work will also have an impact. While your energy bills might not benefit, the wider environment - and company reputation - will.
Although jumping in the car in the morning can seem appealing, reducing the amount of cars on the road is essential for helping the environment.
Public transport is one option - if your workplace is close to a rail link or bus route then staff should be encouraged to use these whenever possible.
Alternatively you may want to run a cycle to work scheme. If your company is in the position to do so, you could subsidise the purchase of bicycles and offer other incentives for two-wheeled travel.
Car-pooling is another great idea, as this encourages staff who live close to each other to share the task of driving to work, helping to reduce the number of cars on the road (and of course their fuel costs!)
If your business has company cars, make sure you choose models based on their efficiency.
Manufacturers have come on leaps and bounds over recent years when it comes to improving their eco-credentials, making it easier for you to select models that have a minimal impact on the environment.
Hybrid and electric cars are a great choice - doing all the necessary research before making a purchase will help ensure you get the best vehicle for your needs and for the environment.