Saving money is always on the mind of business owners. At the same time, most companies are invested in environmental programs on some level. Whether it’s as simple as recycling paper in the office, or as involved as a complete office overhaul. Here are a 5 things your company can do to go green and reduce annual energy costs.
Turn Off Computers When They’re not in Use
Leaving a computer on doesn’t seem like it’s an expensive thing to do when you look at it on a daily basis. On average, Americans pay $.10 per kilowatt hour (kWh). The average desktop computer uses roughly 200 watts per hour. One kilowatt consists of 200 watts. If you do the math, it comes out to cost about $.02 per hour when your computer is on (this can vary based on where you live). That doesn’t sound like much, I agree. But when you add up the total over an entire year, it comes out to about $175 in energy expenses, per computer, if you leave your computer running 24 hours a day. There are a lot of people who leave their computers on when they leave for the night, and that can add up quickly. Leaving computers on can also warm up your office, causing the cost of air conditioning to rise during warmer months.
Use Power Strips to Cut the Cost of Plug Loads by Up to 50%
Everything in your office that is plugged in, which we’ll refer to as “plug load” from now on, makes up 15-20% of your average monthly energy bill. As you read above, one work space can cost a company $175 over the course of a year. Power strips provide another way to cut the costs of computer and electronics usage.
When you first read that one work station can cost a company $175 per year in energy, you may have thought something along the lines of, “$175 isn’t a lot of money, why should I worry about that so much?” Some more simple math should answer that question for you. Say there are 25 employees at your company. That comes out to be an energy cost of $4,375 for the entire office. If you can cut the cost of plug loads by 50%, you’re down to only $2,100. That $2,000 your business is saving could mean more resources for you, an office party, or maybe even a little extra on your Christmas bonus.
Improve Your Heating and Cooling Systems
Retrofitting your heating-and-cooling systems can reduce your building’s energy consumption by as much as 40 percent, because many older systems are too big and inefficient. Opt for a newer unit that is just as powerful (if not more so), and more compact. These more powerful units also use less power, which gives you another way to cut down on energy costs.
Take Advantage of Tax Credits
The federal stimulus package created and extended tax incentives for green initiatives, such as a 30 percent investment tax credit for renewable-energy systems. Each state also has specific tax credits available, on top of those that are offered by the federal government. Incentives specific to the state of Illinois can be found here.
Lighting retrofits can save a company a great deal of money. Read our article on this topic for more information.