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10 Tips on How to Reduce Energy Use in the Home or Office

Human life revolves around energy. Whether that energy is powering tools, lights, or modern conveniences it is essential to every industry. Human dependence on energy has created climate change and a host of other environmental problems. Many businesses are moving away from unsustainable resources and looking for ways to reduce their energy consumption.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the United States heavily relies on fossil fuels to provide energy to the nation. Renewable energy sources account for a mere 11 percent while non-renewable fossil fuels like petroleum (37 percent), coal (11 percent), and natural gas (32 percent) make up 80 percent of all energy supplied in the United States.

Energy is not cheap. The average kilowatt-hour costs 12 cents per minute with Hawaii incurring the highest price for energy at 33 cents per kilowatt-hour and Idaho having the most affordable price of a mere 8 cents per kilowatt-hour.

Businesses by far use the most electricity. The U.S. Department of Energy reports that the building sector uses 76 percent of the nation’s electricity and produces 40 percent of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. Business is eating up non-renewable energy sources at an alarming rate. It is important to streamline energy use not just for the environment, but also for the bottom line because consumers are getting more eco-centric every day. Luckily, there are plenty of actions businesses can take to reduce their energy dependence. Let us discuss the top ten ways to reduce energy use.

Replace Incandescent and Halogen Light Bulbs

Halogen, metal halide, and incandescent bulbs are slowly being phased from use due to the developing technology of LEDs.

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LED stands for light-emitting diode. Diodes are devices created from semiconductors (germanium) which have two electrodes that move electricity in one direction while also being able to alternate electrical currents with basic bridges.

Energy.gov describes LEDs as fantastic energy-efficient lights that last longer, create less waste, and reduce electricity tariffs. LEDs have the potential to save approximately 348 TWh (compared to fluorescent bulbs) of electricity.

348 TWh is enough to run 50 power plants at 1000 megawatts per plant, which saves $30 billion in energy costs. Even a 70-watt LED bulb reduces electricity use by 60 percent compared to a 175-watt sodium lamp.

Open Windows and Use Natural Light

Offices can be stuffy places full of flickering lights, the hum of noisy machines, and canned air. Researchers have known for a long time that exposure to natural light is key to a healthy circadian rhythm and overall well-being. Natural light is a human need like water and oxygen. It can also cut down on energy bills.            

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London City University conducted a study which measured the impact of lighting on worker performance called the ‘Lighting and Well-Being Report,’ that discovered a minimal amount of sunlight is enough to produce feel-good chemicals in the brain making workers perform bet

Power Down Devices

Energy tariffs do not have to be deep, dark holes that suck the profits away from the bottom line. Shutting down electronics, turning off lights, and monitoring heating and cooling temperatures can quickly add up to significant savings. Turning off a desktop computer and monitor can save close to $65 in energy costs.        

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If shutting everything down is not an option, try the hibernation services on the computer and other devices which will automatically save open work and save energy and money! A word to the wise – keep an eye on vampire electronics like mobile phones and tablets. They gobble energy at an amazingly fast rate. It is best to unplug the chargers once the item’s battery is full.

Switch to Laptops

Laptops are simply more efficient than desktop computers because they have access to battery power.

Desktop computers consume 80% more electricity than laptop computers. An average laptop uses between 20 to 50 watts of power which can be adjusted in a power-saving mode. Laptops are an easy way to save up to 50 percent on energy costs.

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Invest in New Technology

Believe it or not, trying to squeeze the pips from outdated electrical equipment costs more money than investing in tools that offer maximum efficiency. Older electronics are sometimes referred to as vampire electronics due to the amount of energy being siphoned off due to inefficiency.

Regularly Audit Energy Use

Keeping a tab on the workplace’s energy use is an easy way to check if the new energy-saving measures are working.

Checking the overall energy efficiency by completing a routine energy audit can help budget for energy expenses and track changes.

An energy audit should be conducted twice a year on the same day and at the same time. Review electricity charges to compare the statistics for a complete picture of the businesses’ energy consumption.

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Be Mindful of Environmental Settings

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Heating and cooling a home or office environment takes up a considerable amount of the monthly finances. Opening windows and banking on the shoulder seasons (spring and autumn) can improve the well-being of employees, reduce heating and cooling costs, and lower energy consumption.

Install Window Treatments

Blinds, curtains, and lots of other window treatments can lower the costs associated with air conditioning. Window treatments have come a long way since the time of frilly, cotton curtains blocking minimal heat.

The right blinds can provide suitable natural light while reducing the temperature inside the office.

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Only Print When Necessary

While paper does grow on trees, it does mean the loss of natural habitats- which displace animals and negatively impact the planet’s overall health.

Controlling who uses the printer and what they print can dramatically reduce costs and decrease the negative impact many industries have on the environment. 

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Encourage Sustainability

Many people are already mindful of how they work and live concerning the environment and resources.

However, studies show that when employers encourage, reinforce, and incentivize energy conservation that the businesses’ efforts reaped substantial rewards both economically and in employee performance. Try running a competition that targets lowering energy consumption with      AlexasFotos. ‘Owl.’ Pixabay.com. Copyright-free.

Rewards for employees who make the biggest changes in their office habits and procedures. Do not forget to post reminders and encourage team members to remain mindful of their practices.

About Farrukh Khurshed

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