Workplaces differ greatly in set-up and energy demands, but there are many things you may be able to do to reduce the energy use and the carbon footprint of your organisation. Small businesses in Islington can also use our free Business Audit scheme to get a tailored report on how your organisation could reduce its energy consumption.
Heating and cooling
- If you have a gas boiler, you may have to think about zero carbon options as we move away from fossil fuels. Consider installing a heat pump – for most organisations that will mean an air source heat pump (ASHP), which absorbs heat from the outside air to heat your building and hot water.
- Turn your thermostat down by just 1°C. This can cut energy usage by approximately 8%. As a general guide, the Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers recommends a temperature of 20°C for offices, 16°C for factories and 18°C for hospitals.
- If your site has individual radiators, it’s also good to have Thermostatic Radiator Valves (TRVs) fitted. TRVs let you control the temperature of each individual radiator, so even if your central heating is on you don’t have to heat areas you are not using. Make sure any vents and radiators are unobstructed by furniture such as workbenches or cabinets.
- Use air conditioning only when it’s needed. Before turning it on, consider closing blinds when the sun is shining to help to keep temperatures down. If it’s a breezy day, opening your windows should ensure an adequate flow of air through the building. When you do have to run air conditioning, make it as efficient as possible by closing windows and doors. Cleaning air conditioning filters, fans and vents regularly means the system doesn’t have to work as hard.
- Ensuring that the walls and ceilings of your premises are insulated properly is a cost-effective, long-term investment, as it will enhance the energy efficiency of the building and help with the thermal comfort of your employees.
- Make sure your doors and windows have good seals when closed, as even tiny gaps can result in significant heat losses.
- Consider installing solar panels.
- Install a smart meter. This will allow you identify how much you’re spending on energy throughout the day and enable you adjust energy-heavy tasks and minimise waste. Your energy supplier has to install smart meters for free if you request one.
- Don’t leave lights on. Look into motion sensors for areas frequently unoccupied and replace your lightbulbs with low energy LED bulbs.
- Encourage employees to turn off computers/equipment instead of using standby mode. Don’t forget big banks of switches and plugs, and put all your office equipment in sleep mode when not in use.
- Switch your energy supplier.
- Replace inefficient equipment. The next time you buy new appliances go for the highest energy rating, e.g. A+++ rated. Even if more expensive upfront, it’ll result in a significant long-term energy saving.
- Replace gas cooking equipment with electric or other sustainable alternatives.
- Becoming a paperless organisation will not only save paper, but also mean you save energy by not using printers (which should be switched off when not in use).
- Workplace fridges and freezers are often not given the best care and attention. Defrost them at least once a year or whenever you notice a build-up of ice.
- Cutting your water usage also saves carbon – consider low-flow features in bathrooms and kitchen including touchless taps or waterless urinals.
- Train your staff in some of the above energy efficiency practices - make it part of new staff induction or have regular communication campaigns. Recognise staff who champion energy saving innovations – having regular staff meetings to share progress and new ideas is also a good way to keep energy saving on the agenda.