Behavior changes in offices

Small behavioral changes can save up to 15 percent energy. To ensure that employees are committed to their company’s energy saving policies they have to be engaged. Their suggestions have to be taken into account when the targets and saving measures are defined. Different consumption areas have to be considered including space heating, cooling and electricity consumption of appliances and lighting.

Electricity saving

To save electricity, it is not always necessary to purchase new appliances. It is worth having a look at the ones already installed as energy is consumed even if devices are not used. Standby losses can be avoided by applying the following recommendations:

  1. Reduce your standby consumption by using standby killers like: multiple sockets or  an easier to use remote controlled multiple plugs for your computer. Turn your computer off when you leave the office or during long meetings or lunch breaks (more than 30 minutes).
  2. Don’t use a screen saver. They are not protecting your monitor but only wasting energy. Make sure power management is activated on your computer.
  3. Fully power off printers and copiers or other devices that don’t have to stay connected after work or during weekends.

Lighting accounts for 30 percent of the electricity use in offices. Accordingly, a lot of energy can be saved by efficient lighting but also by energy awareness of employees:

  1. Last one turns out the lights! Get into the habit of turning off lights when you leave a room (office, kitchen and bathroom). Check especially on evenings and weekends. Alternatively lighting controls such occupancy could be installed especially in area of infrequent use.
  2. Lighting reflectors and lampshades should be cleaned regularly to improve the clearance of the lighting. Daylighting sensors can also be installed which will illuminate area with appropriate lighting levels. This is particularly useful in areas with large glazing areas. 

Time for a break! But please consider the following recommendations while you are relaxing:

  1. Turn the coffee machine off after use.
  2. Place your refrigerator and freezer away from heat sources and open them as little as possible. Do not put hot food in refrigerator and freezer and defrost it regularly. Adjust the thermostat of the refrigerator according to the outside temperature and the amount of food contained .i.e. high temperatures in the Winter.
  3. Offer more vegetarian dishes in canteens. Eat less meat for lunch. For the production of meat a lot more energy is required than for vegetables.

Choosing the right room temperature

Once the ideal room temperature is fixed by the team, the following tips should be considered:

  1. Turn down or off the heating at weekends and on vacation periods. A decrease of the room temperature during nights and longer periods of absence generate considerable energy savings. Programmable controls can also be installed where the night and week end non-use can be automatically programmed.
  2. In autumn and winter, close windows after work and on weekends (also in bathrooms) to retain the heat.
  3. Use an indoor-thermometer and agree upon a temperature. Check temperature before regulating the heating.
  4. Ventilation: Get fresh air into the room regularly. Open windows entirely (if possible) for some minutes and close them again instead of tilted windows. Regular ventilation does not only provide you with fresh oxygen, it is also important to get the humidity out of the office. Check CO2 meters, if installed, to determine when to open windows, which should be at least every two hours for five minutes depending on the outside temperature. The higher the outside temperature the longer you should leave the windows open.  Use the rush and the cross methods for ventilation: “Rush” - Method: Close thermostatic valves and open windows widely for at least 5 minutes. The “Cross” – Method: Open opposite windows for 5 minutes to create an air exchange.
  5. Do not cover radiators with curtains or panels: the air must circulate, so the heat exchange can work correctly.
  6. If you use air conditioning in summer make sure all windows are closed, choose the dehumidifier which consumes less.
  7. Holiday scheduling (HVAC, lighting etc.).
  8. Allow employees to wear more informal and lighter clothes during summer or additional clothing in winter.