How to cut your workplace energy impact (without using less energy)

Joe Griffin
Joe Griffin

A common misconception about going green is that it involves sacrifice. In the case of energy use, you might think that a company reducing their carbon footprint might have to use machinery, lighting and utilities less. But that’s not the case. 

There are smarter ways to cut your carbon footprint, and you can do so without making any compromise on productivity and output. In fact, you could ultimately be saving money while saving the planet. 

Here’s how...

Monitor your use of energy

This is by far the easiest way to address the problem of energy usage. You can monitor energy use either by device (by using energy monitor plugs, for instance). Or by going with an energy supplier who can give you an itemised bill showing your usage.

You might be surprised at how much you’re wasting. In one extreme instance, a student accommodation manager in Dublin saved his employer a huge unnecessary cost: Thanks to energy monitoring, he discovered that 50% of tenants were about to leave appliances on over the Christmas break.

So by monitoring energy use, you can keep an eye on what’s happening even if the business isn’t in operation. This might include machines on standby, lights left on needlessly in empty buildings, and so on. 

The best thing about monitoring for energy use is that it lessens your carbon footprint and cuts your bills without compromising on output or machine use. 

Watch out for ‘standby’ 

Shutting down every device completely is still overlooked by many businesses and colleagues. This might be an education issue: Many of us are unaware that appliances on standby can typically use 15% of their power

There are small, everyday examples that have a cumulative effect if done throughout the company. For instance, a phone being plugged into its charger continues to use power after the device is fully charged; monitors use about 15% of their energy in sleep mode; and some laser printers use more energy when they’re in standby mode than when they’re printing! 

If you don’t know where to begin, a company-wide memo urging colleagues to switch off completely and turn off power outlets at the end of each day would be a good starting point.

Use renewable energy where possible 

How much you can commit to this might depend on circumstances and resources, but here are ways in which you can look at renewable energy for your company: 

Switch to a green energy provider 

Shopping around for utility suppliers is always a good idea, and going green will lessen your company’s environmental impact. If you’re concerned about higher costs, remember that grants and tax relief are available for all kinds of modifications or green pursuits, in the UK, in Ireland and the US among other territories.

Upgrade equipment or premises 

This might mean installing solar panels, insulting walls, upgrading windows or investing in more efficient equipment. Again, there are grants available (many of which are outlined in the links in the paragraph above) and again, this should not be prohibitively costly: indeed, energy saving initiatives like upgrades usually pay for themselves with improved operations and lower bills.

Automate your admin and accounts 

Automation can cut both your labour and energy costs: instead of spending hours on admin and accounts, use automation software (like AutoEntry, for instance) to cut a job by hours. 

This is less time on admin work, which leads to less resources being used, including energy. As is always the case, a more efficient company is a greener one, and vice versa. 

As an added environmental bonus, going digital with your admin absolutely demolishes paper use (which we’ve discussed before). 

AutoEntry and Earth Month 

Throughout April, AutoEntry is marking Earth Month with a number of posts and initiatives. We have previously talked about colleagues who are making a positive difference, posted about Earth Month itself and we’re running a competition. 

We’re asking all readers to share with us how they’re helping the environment whether it’s tiny personal steps or huge corporate initiatives.  Talk to us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn with the hashtag #GoGreenWithAutoEntry and tag us to let us know you're taking part - @autoentry.  

You can be in with a chance to win a beautiful personal seeds kit, and the best entry will win a €500 Amazon voucher.

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