If you are looking for ways to stop wasting energy and money you'll find lots of ideas here. The Energy Saving Trust is a non-profit organisation that provides free and impartial advice on how to save energy.
One of the biggest challenges that an organisation faces in terms of operating as a sustainable organisation is around the efficient use of energy and water. However, it is one area where you will find lots of 'quick wins' and you can made progress very quickly.
Reducing energy and water use makes good business sense; it saves you money, enhances your green credentials, improves working conditions and therefore productivity and helps in the fight against climate change.
Saving energy and water in the workplace is dependent on two things; having the right products and having a control strategy in place. It is no good having the most efficient boiler on the market if staff are constantly adjusting the thermostats to control the temperature.
Energy saving products
Lighting accounts for around 30% of the energy used in your office so its worth investigating low energy lighting options. Replacing a traditional tungsten bulb with a compact florescent lamp will offer a 75% saving in energy and money and even has a longer lamp life. Perhaps energy efficient task lighting might reduce the use of room lights.
Reviewing your IT requirements on a regular basis can also result in energy savings such as, replacing monitors with energy efficient ones or lap tops, setting up ‘thin clients’ or just ensuring all computers are switched off at night and are set to go into sleep mode after 10 minutes.
Another area where you can make significant savings is by investing in loft insulation which can improve efficiency by 95%. Around a quarter of heat in an un-insulated property is lost through the roof. If you don’t own the building have a chat with your landlord.
If you (or your landlord) have sufficient capital you may be interested in investing in renewable technologies. Your investment will be 'rewarded' through the Government Feed-in-tariff scheme which guarantees a minimum payment for electricity generated and electricity exported to the grid. The Renewable heat incentive scheme will be introduced in 2012 alongside the Green Deal which will offer further energy efficiency support to businesses. For more information got to the DECC website www.decc.gov.uk and also visit the Energy Saving Trust web site www.est.org.uk.
Water saving products
Saving water often gets overlooked in favour of saving energy. However, we need to address our water consumption for many reasons. Firstly, contrary to popular belief we don’t have an abundance of water at our disposal in the UK. In fact, we actually have under half the amount of water per person compared to France, Italy or Spain and we waste a third of it through old leaky pipes before it even reaches our buildings!
Secondly, the treatment of water is energy and resource intensive which contributes to carbon emissions. Lastly, water bills are set to get higher still. Remember you can shop around for the best deals on many things, but not your water. It makes financial and environmental sense to reduce what you use. If you are on a water meter reducing your water usage by 45 litres a day, could save you up to £54.75 a year!
Devices you could use to save water in the workplace are; dual flush toilets (and know how to use them!), hippos for non dual flush toilet cisterns, spray taps, water efficient dishwashers, as well as making sure just enough water is used when you brew up for everyone!.
An effective Control Strategy can ensure that energy and water efficiency is not dependent solely on human intervention. Taking the 'control' away from staff will ensure a more efficient and streamlined approach to energy and water efficiency. It can also help to relieve any arguments which can often occur when for example heating temperatures are being turned up and down to accommodate different comfort levels of staff. Always consult with staff and ask them to put forward suggestions or input into the decisions.
Different control strategies could be; using timers for all heating systems, setting radiator valves to a consistent temperature, motion sensors in spaces that are not in constant use like bathrooms, removing all portable fans and heaters, brewing up for everyone at the same time and ensuring all windows can be opened easily.
How can MERCi help your organisation?
- Sustainability benchmarking of your organisation
- Directory of sustainable goods and service providers in Greater Manchester
- Resources and tool-kits
- Ideas on how to involve your staff, volunteers, board, service users and customers
- Tailored training and workshops
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