Green Business Bureau Blog
Businesses that maximize the energy efficiency of their facilities save money and help the environment. Energy Star, the Environmental Protection Agency’s energy efficiency program, reports that commercial buildings in the U.S. spend $107.9 billion annually on energy costs, and use energy unnecessarily or inefficiently 30 percent of the time. Energy Star estimates that reducing 10 percent of business energy would save $20 billion—the equivalent of emissions from almost 30 million vehicles.
There are plenty of easy ways to reduce business energy use for heating, air conditioning, and lighting and electricity—put these tips into practice and you’ll be on your way to becoming an environmentally friendly organization.
Heating and Air Conditioning
Paying close attention to the heating and air conditioning system in your office can help save energy and expenses. Keep equipment operating efficiently to save money and conserve energy. Use an annual maintenance contract that provides regular service to prepare for cooling and heating seasons, this will extend the life of the equipment, and prevent the need for emergency service calls.
Use these tips to keep HVAC use at top efficiency to save energy:
• Keep clean filters in HVAC equipment. This simple measure can improve indoor air quality and helps prevent clogging or overworking the equipment.
• Block direct heat gain with window shades, solar films, awnings, or strategically planted trees and shrubs. Sunlight coming in through large office windows concentrates the sun’s rays and heats the air, affecting the efficiency of air conditioning and interfering with balanced air temperature.
• Strategic use of indoor fans can delay the need to use air conditioning before it’s necessary, and fans help make the most of conditioned air when equipment is in use.
Lighting and Electricity
Computers, lights, alarm systems, some phone systems, office equipment, and production machinery all require electricity when in use. Businesses can maximize the efficiency and reduce energy use and expense by using Energy Star products with energy efficient designs and operation.
The EPA recommends managing office equipment energy use by powering down equipment at the end of the day, using power management features on computers, and plugging electrical cords into power strips to prevent energy drains, as well as turning off all lights and equipment at the end of the workday. The EPA estimates that using computer power management, where computers go into sleep mode when not in use, can save up to $50 per computer per year.
Consider using green power generated from renewable energy sources like solar and wind. Check the EPA’s Green Power Locator to see if green power is available in your area.
Office Depot’s recommendations to save energy and money on electricity include using compact fluorescent bulbs, and Energy Star qualified lights rather than incandescent bulbs. They last up to 10 times longer and save up to 75 percent on energy use. They also recommend using daylight rather than lights powered with electricity when possible.
Other Ways to Save
Save energy with a programmable thermostat that automatically regulates heating and air conditioning to cut costs when the business is closed. Prevent “temperature wars” by locking the thermostat, so only authorized staff have access and provide employees other ways to regulate the temperature in their areas, such as fans.
Raise awareness of energy use and engage employees in overall efforts to save energy and money. The Carbon Trust makes employee engagement easy with access to efficiency guides, savings advice, awareness campaign materials, and energy savings calculator.
Alison Lueders, owner of Platinum GBB member, Great Green Content, recently profiled the new book, “Building A Culture For Sustainability.” The book takes an in depth look at sustainability best practices from leading companies such as ALCOA and Wyndham Worldwide. It provides examples of eco-friendly initiatives such as sustainable sourcing and organizing green teams. Most importantly, the book stresses the value of creating a culture of sustainability by engaging people and incorporating sustainability into your company’s DNA.
To read Alison’s full recap check out her blog.
Christine Feldmann, founder and Direct of Operations of Platinum GBB member, Rio Designs, has over 15 years experience in design, planning, execution, control and monitoring of supply chain activities with the objective of creating net value, building a competitive infrastructure, leveraging worldwide logistics, synchronizing supply with demand and measuring performance globally. Her professional career reflects a continuous record of achievements characterized by a steady progression from the ground floor to executive ‘C’ – level management where she attained the position of Upper Management for national divisions of both private and public companies. Mrs. Feldmann also held leadership careers within well established corporations ranked in one of the top of New Jersey & New York Fortune 500 Companies in the USA. Regarded as an innovator and a leader in the implementation of World Class Manufacturing/
For more information please visit:
2012 Rio Design: http://2012riodesigns.com/
GBB member, FlexJobs, is the organizer of the 1 Million For Work Flexibility campaign, which touts the social, economic and environmental benefits of telecommuting and teleconferencing. In addition to promoting employee morale, GBB supports the 1MFWF campaign as a way to cut down our collective carbon footprint by reducing transport emissions. A recent post from the 1MFWF blog also highlights some of the hidden health costs of working in a traditional office, including indoor sickness and lack of exposure to sunlight. To learn more check out the full article on the 1MFWF blog.
If you are looking to go green at work and have started by placing recycling bins around your office or even providing an incentive to commute to work, there’s still more you can do. Another way to go green in your office is by updating your light fixtures. There are many benefits for doing so, including a reduction in your energy bill. Save the environment by switching to energy efficient lighting and by improving the lighting you may increase productivity.
Types of Light Bulbs
Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs): CFLs are spiral bulbs that use a combination of argon and mercury vapor to create light. These light bulbs use 75 percent less energy than traditional incandescent light bulbs, which will be illegal as of December 31, 2014. There are some downsides to the CFL as they contain mercury and therefore have to be disposed of properly to avoid harming the environment. An interesting study at Stony Brook University also found that CFLs might increase cancer risks as they give off harmful UV radiation.
Light Emitting Diode (LEDs): The better choice when upgrading your lighting are LEDs. They last two to four times longer than CFLs. Unlike CFLs that give off heat, LEDs do not and thus have less energy loss. The added heat loss from CFLs may lead to larger utility bills for your office. LEDs are far more efficient; a 16.5 watt LED will give off as much light as a 20-watt CFL.
Save the Environment and Utility Expenses By Using LEDs
The United States Department of Energy estimates that by switching to much more efficient LED technology, we could see $265 billion in energy savings in 20 years. This will also cut down on our fossil fuel use as more efficient lighting requires less energy.
Wal-Mart has recognized the power of LEDs, reports Forbes. One of its Ohio stores is lit completely by LEDs. In their grocery section alone the company estimates a savings of 59,000 kilowatt-hours per year, enough energy to power five single-family homes. If a larger retailer like Wal-Mart can switch their lighting to LED, why can’t you?
Increase Productivity with Better Lighting
Improving the lighting in you office goes beyond environmental friendliness and energy savings. You can also increase the productivity of your employees by upgrading the lighting in your office. Natural lighting not only cuts down on energy savings but also keeps your employees happier. Just as important as letting the light in, though, is limiting light with shades and blinds to keep the office from getting too hot.
Have you ever considered the power of zero?
It may look like nothing, but zero is definitely something. After all, what’s the difference between one and one million? A few zeros.
The power of zero is the power to multiply. For example, if you take an ordinary hotel and add zero to it, then you’ve got something much more powerful than a simple hotel. Suddenly, you have a hotel that gives back to the environment, rather than just burning through resources. You’ve got a hotel that’s an active member of its local community, partnering with local businesses and participating in charities that impact local families.
Suddenly, with a few zeros, you’ve got more than just a place to stay while you’re on a business trip. It’s a place to stay that’s as unique as you are, and that shares your commitment to environmental consciousness and giving back.
At Hotel Zero Degrees, we’ve added a few “zeros” to the conventional hotel model.
Regular hotels produce a lot of waste. At Hotel Zero Degrees, we’re dedicated to bringing that waste down as much as possible. To accomplish this, we use utensils made from composted materials, and we make sure to only use energy efficient lighting fixtures throughout the hotel. We recycle as much as possible, and we provide our guest with recycling options, instead of just the obligatory trash bucket.
Zero unnecessary trips
Convenience is combined with environmental consciousness through our complimentary shuttle service. Now you have the freedom to visit the local sights, and we help do our part to reduce carbon emissions.
Other hotels outsource their furniture, décor, and cuisine from all over the globe. The results are typically predictable, bland, and conventional. That’s not what Hotel Zero Degrees is about.
We make sure to source local whenever possible. That means we get our produce from local farmers and farmers markets, we buy our furniture from local businesses, and we hang art on our walls created by local artists. The result: a unique experience that is anything but bland and predictable.
Our employees are an important part of the Hotel Zero Degrees family, and we treat them well so that they can treat our guests well.
Friendly service is central to our philosophy. When you stay at Hotel Zero Degrees, we strive to make your stay as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. Without an outstanding guest experience, everything else is meaningless.
Zero holding back
A hotel shouldn’t be an island unto itself. It should be an active participant in the local community.
At Hotel Zero Degrees, we give back as much as possible. We partner with several local non-profit organizations, including the Fairfield County Cultural Alliance and the Silvermine Arts Center Artist Guild. We actively donate to and assist with charities that benefit the people who live in our community.
We don’t find success by playing it safe. Our goal is to stand above the rest and set ourselves apart from the ordinary.