Not sure where to start when it comes to how to make your office or facility more energy efficient and more sustainable?
At the very least, these steps can encourage less energy use, it can help to prevent pollution in some cases, and it can hopefully help to reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfills and incinerators. Here are 6 ideas to get you started.
1. Start with common recyclables
Do you realize just how much can be recycled today? Bags, aluminum products, sealable or “zippered” plastic food bags, flexible plastic wraps on paper towels, cases of soda, plastic containers and jugs, steel, many electronics, yard debris…the list is long.
And just think: if you recycle one glass bottle that saves enough energy to power a computer for 30 minutes (2)!
If you are just now deciding to recycle (or encourage your tenants to recycle), one of the first things you can do is try to decide which items you are going to start with. Cardboard, paper, batteries, plastics, and glass might be a good place to start, if those are going to be relevant to your facility.
Paper: Believe it or not, 25 percent of trash that is generated each year in the US comes from paper, and that’s more than any other material (1).
Plastics: As much as 35 million tons of plastics were created in 2017 alone (1). Look up a guide to see what can be recycled and what can’t be; even consider printing that off and having it in your workplace if that will help people know more about what plastics can and cannot be recycled.
Glass: In any given year, more than 25% of glass has been recovered for recycling, and the good news here is that glass can be recycled many times over (1). Depending on where your business is located, you may be able to put multiple types of glass together in your recycling bin and it will be separated out at the recovery facility. Check with local entities, such as this resource, to be sure you are following the right process for recycling any glass materials.
Is your office well-beyond these steps when it comes to a recycling program? Well done! Just keep adding to your recycling program and continue to educate tenants about the benefits, too.
2. Don’t neglect proper system boundaries
Another way you can save is by making sure boundaries properly control heating and cooling of certain spaces in your facility. Take for example an area of the your warehouse that is often unused, or is perhaps seasonally not in use. Perhaps that designated area doesn’t need to be heated or cooled during certain times of the year, or maybe it can be at a temperature that varies from the rest of the building, but that still saves you money.
You may have had this loosely defined in the past, but it’s worth the effort to really define and get clear on what those “boundaries” will be, what those settings are, and how that airflow will be affected. Ideally, you can get real-time or near real-time feedback on those spaces to see just how efficiently you are using your energy.
3. Utilize your automations
Controlling your fans, chillers and compressor motors as much as possible is going to mean one thing: greater efficiency and saved energy! As much as possible, aim to use programmable and automatic controls to control your system. When doing so, that means you have greater precision and efficiency with airflow. No matter the industry or the application, these small automations can really add up.
4. Evaluate your energy efficiency
Instead of assuming you are making decisions or using set points that will help you save energy, get an energy audit to see tangible ways you can save energy and encourage greater sustainability in your building. There’s no reason why you should ever be consuming too much energy when you don’t need to.
5. Turn off equipment when no one is using it
You can use hibernation features on equipment that allows it or you can be sure to entirely turn off (and even unplug) certain equipment when it makes sense for your business. Going on a break as a company? Maybe you don’t need your copiers, vending machines, or scanners plugged in and turned on, as just a few examples (3).
6. Start upcycling
Depending on the size of your office or facility, consider creating an “upcycling” center or station at your facility.
Imagine the scenario: A lot of times one department with throw away certain supplies or get rid of supplies that could be used by another; with an upcycling center, you are able to share certain supplies or keep them until they might be used.
It requires real organization to be set up the right way, but you can save on re-ordering items you once had, and it can be another alternative before you throw raw materials out or recycle them.
Reduce Your Energy Consumption this Year
You can trim down or minimize your energy consumption without any sacrifice to the comfort of your tenants. We can help you maintain comfort and find efficient and environmentally friendly solutions for your business. Greater Comfort has served more than 48,000 customers in Greater Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky, Southeastern Indiana and beyond.
Call our 24/7 team for all your HVAC needs at 859-491-4915 or contact us here.