At this point in time, there’s no denying the importance of solar panels both in saving the environment and in saving on your electrical bill in the office. Naturally, we’d highly recommend installing solar panels, if possible. However, as important as they are, they’re not the only way to save on energy in the workplace. These days, there are plenty of other energy-saving devices out there, and in this blog, we’re going to take a look at some of them.
One of the most easily recognizable pieces of efficient, “green” technology is the spiral-shaped CFL, or compact fluorescent lightbulb. Though now an older piece of technology, these bulbs are still cost-effective and efficient, and if your workplace is fully set up with them, they’re likely not worth replacing. However, these days there’s an even more efficient option – LED lightbulbs. LED lightbulbs have an average lifespan of 25,000 hours, compared to 8,000 hours for CFLs and 1,200 hours for incandescent lightbulbs. Because LED bulbs are so much more efficient, you’d be paying much less for electricity over that long lifespan.
However, what if you have typical overhead fluorescent lights? Well, there are several options here, depending on what you’re starting with. If you have the old, typical T12 fluorescent lamps, it’s relatively easy to switch to T8 fluorescent lamps, which are 35% more efficient. Beyond that, an even newer option is the T5 fluorescent lamps, which are 45% more efficient than T12 lamps. However, upgrading to these options may not be as simple as simply swapping out some lamps. The newer T8 and T5 lamps use electronic ballasts in their accompanying fixtures, compared to magnet ballasts for T12 lamps, meaning that the entire light fixture might need to be replaced if you want to upgrade your fluorescent lamps. Also, beyond that, comparable LED lights are even more efficient and cost-effective compared to all these options. However, it’s good to have different options to consider here, each with their own pros and cons.
Oh, and while this isn’t a “device,” per se, consider using natural sunlight where possible – it’s the most cost-effective form of lighting, after all.
Lighting Occupancy Sensors
On top of potentially upgrading to LED lights, or other efficient options, one of the best ways to save energy where lighting is involved is to simply shut them off. This is where lighting occupancy sensors can come in. In rooms that aren’t always used, like conference rooms, break rooms, or individual offices that aren’t always in use, these sensors can simply shut off all the lights when people aren’t around. Then, if anyone steps inside, these sensors will likewise automatically switch all the lights on.
Another easily forgettable energy user is exit signs. While these likely aren’t your biggest energy concern, it’s another place where it’s possible to switch to a more efficient option.
Many older signs have incandescent bulbs in them, while more modern, efficient options use LEDs, unsurprisingly. Though this likely won’t be priority number one for you, it’s certainly an option to consider if you want to save a little more energy.
Another simple energy-saving device is a programmable, “smart” thermostat. Heating and air conditioning are both huge energy users, and it can be a challenge to save energy here, since you and your employees need to be in a comfortable environment throughout the workday. However, with a smart thermostat, you can program them to shut off at the end of the workday and have them turn back on before people return the next day.
Surge Protectors and Phantom Energy
A hidden form of energy use is what’s known as “phantom energy,” of course not to be confused with the hypothetical form of dark energy. No, phantom energy is any energy used by a device or piece of equipment that’s plugged in but not currently in use. Nowadays, devices are expected to always be ready to go, and because of this, they use some energy when they’re not necessarily turned on. Laptop chargers, TVs, printers, monitors, for example, all use energy when not in use.
A simple way to handle this is surge protectors. If you plug in all of these phantom energy users into a surge protector, you can then simply turn it off at the end of the day. While this does require someone taking the responsibility to turn these surge protectors off, this is still the simplest way to handle phantom energy.
Finally, for all equipment and devices you put in your office space, it’s important to make sure they’re Energy Star certified. This is an effective, standardized system that gives you the confidence that the device you’re buying is energy-efficient.
While there’s no denying the importance of solar panels, there are plenty of other energy-saving devices that can help you save on energy costs. While this isn’t a comprehensive list by any means, the devices mentioned here are very effective and useful and hopefully can inspire you to find ways to make your office space more efficient.
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We have offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Canberra and a national network of fully accredited solar installers. Sustainability is at our core. Since 2003, the foundation of Todae Solar has focused on sustainable business development.