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Reducing Electricity At Work

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 20 Aug 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Carbon Counted Co2 Carbon Emission

It’s remarkably easy to be wasteful with electricity – all you need to do is stop paying attention. But more and more people these days are aware of things they can do at home to cut electricity consumption and their bills. Simple ideas like not leaving mobile phone chargers plugged in or appliances on standby can make a huge difference over the course of a year, reducing your carbon footprint.

Yet when it comes to the workplace, many of us don’t seem to worry. After all, we’re not paying the bill, are we? However, it’s not all about the money. Equally important, and more so in the long term, is reducing the amount of CO2 put into the atmosphere.

Things Your Company Can Do

There are some very simple measures you company can take to reduce its carbon footprint. Make sure that all computers and monitors are switched off at night, for instance (in fact, turn off all appliances), and turn off the lights when you leave. What’s the point of leaving them blazing, anyway?

Make it a company policy not to print out e-mails. All too often we print virtually everything, whether we need it or not, and probably 95% of it is unnecessary. By printing only essential materials you’ll be saving paper (and why not buy only recycled paper to help save trees?) and electricity, since you’ll be using your printer a lot less.

Air conditioning is very pleasant on a hot summer day, but just now necessary is it? We live in Britain, not a tropical climate. By opening windows to create a cross-breeze you can have a workplace that’s pleasant and conducive to work. All too often the chill of air conditioning can leave people freezing and help bring on summer colds.

Similarly, setting the thermostat properly for heating in the winter will mean you’ll use less energy and keep everyone more comfortable, rather than the old saw of some chilled and some overheated.

Going Beyond The Basics

Those are the basic, easy things that can still make a big difference. But they’re only the first steps. If your company wants to make a larger commitment towards arresting climate change, there are others ideas that will help.

If you own your premises, you can look at alternative ways of generating some of your electricity, such as using solar panels or a small wind turbine. Yes, it’s a definite investment, costing quite a few thousand, and the payoff won’t come quickly, but in the long run it can prove to more than pay for itself financially as well as making a big difference in CO2 emissions.

You can also look at your electricity supplier. It’s quite feasible to switch, just as you would at home, and begin using a renewable tariff that generated from green sources so it doesn’t add to the CO2 emissions. They’re out there, and finding them is simple.

Another good move is to have an energy audit. You might think you’ve covered everything, but inevitably there will be ideas that have never occurred to you. Simply contact the Carbon Trust and they’ll arrange one free of charge.

It’s also worth remembering the Climate Change Levy that the government brought in. Under that, companies can be penalised for excessive energy use, so cutting back puts you very much on the right side of the law.

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