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Heating And Cooling The Office

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 21 Aug 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Carbon Counted Carbon Dioxide Co2

Have you ever driven around at night and seen offices and factories with lights blazing through the windows, even though no is will be working there until the next day (or even the next week)?

You might have wondered why they did it, then forgotten about it when the traffic light turned green and you moved on. But it’s a good question. We waste a lot of electricity in the workplace, not just by leaving the lights on, but in heating and cooling it.

Keeping The Workplace Cool

For the moment, at least, we live in a very temperate climate, even if the coming decades might make our Julys into something more Mediterranean. Our summers don’t become excessively hot. So why do we have air conditioning in our offices? This isn’t the southern states of the U.S., or somewhere in Africa or Asia, where the temperature and humidity can be overwhelming.

Instead, what we really need in summer is to have windows open, in order to set up cross-ventilation and keep ourselves pleasantly cool without the chill of air conditioning. By using A/C, all we’re doing is increasing our carbon footprint, as well as creating a work environment that’s actually uncomfortable. Cross ventilation uses nature rather than tries to create an artificial environment, and it doesn’t waste resources or put CO2 in the air.

Keeping The Workplace Warm

Winters can be terrible in the workplace. It seems that you’re either freezing, to the point you want to wrap up in layers of clothes, or you’re boiling, down to shirtsleeves although it’s just the end of January. The problem isn’t you, or even the weather – it’s the thermostat in the workplace. You need to find an optimum temperature for everyone, a setting that keeps everyone comfortable, not too hot and not too cold. Not only will it cut down on your electricity bill and the amount of carbon you put out, it will also have the bonus of increasing productivity.

Who Provides Your Electricity?

Does anyone in the office really pay much attention to which company supplies electricity, or are you still with the same vendor you’ve always used? Take time to check, and investigate other tariffs, especially those from companies that use renewables and green sources for part of their energy. It’s an excellent way to help lower your carbon footprint, and could also prove to be cheaper than your old supplier.

Thermostat

A good thermostat, preferably one that people can easily adjust and switch on and off, could make for big savings in the long run. There are many days in the spring and autumn that no heating or cooling is needed at all, but often ends up running anyway. Eliminating that makes for a workplace that’s not only more comfortable for everyone, but also more environmentally friendly.

The Savings

These might seem like small measures, and in many ways they are. But they can have a large impact. There can be an important lowering of the carbon footprint, looked at on an annual basis, and it can also make a difference to a company’s bottom line. The less that’s being spent on heating and cooling, or just on electricity, means savings and a better bottom line, and a more comfortable workplace translates into increase productivity from employees.

Finally, with the Climate Change Levy meaning companies which are deemed to have excessive energy use being penalized, anything that can lower energy consumption has to be a good thing.

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