Low investment measures

Switch to efficient lighting

If you decide to improve the lighting of your office, not only is it an investment improvement but also a reduction in running costs. It can also improve the lighting quality and identifying appropriate lighting for applications. Previously bulbs and lamps were purchased with Power (Watts) being the most important consideration. Power is important but light output measured in Lumen also has to be considered. Typically:

  • 40 Watt: 350-400 Lumen
  • 60 Watt: 590-700 Lumen
  • 75 Watt: 800-900 Lumen
  • 100 Watt: 1.150-1.400 Lumen

The first generation of energy efficient light bulbs was providing lighting of lower quality which did not immediately achieve the right intensity. The new generation of lighting and especially LEDs have solved these initial problems. LEDs are available in different lighting colour from warm-white (as of the good old incandescent light bulb) to daylight-white which is similar to halogen lamps.

  • Daylight-white:
    desk lighting , office, (good color reproduction)
    5.000-6.000 K
  • Neutral-white:
    Stairway, desk, office
    4.000 K
  • Warm-white:
    Kitchen, recreation room, home-like lighting)
    3.000 K

Use light meters (LUX meters) to obtain the correct lighting levels for appropriate applications. It is very important for the working condition with impact on working efficiency.

If you are using florescent tubes choose electronic ballast devices as they use less electricity.

Use lighting sensors for hallways, bathrooms and rooms that are not often frequented. Replace light switches with motion or occupancy sensors. For night time use, install night photocell controls that automatically turn the lights on at dusk and off at dawn.

Use solar walkway and patio lights for outdoor accent lights. These are widely available and easy to install. You can install them yourself in a few minutes, since they don't require any wiring.

Efficient heating and cooling

Seal windows and doors. Flexible sealing degrades after time, it should be replaced periodically. Where sealing cannot be installed expectable foam or silicon can be used to draught proofing.

Improve the heating regulation/control by a professional with radiator balancing of your system. Get the air out of your heating pipes by de-aeration of the radiators.

Maintain your heating system regularly by installing time controls for your heating system to match occupancy hours.

Use thermostats and check if they still react to temperature changes. Use the frost-protection modus. Electronic programmable thermostats with remote control can be more user-friendly.

When radiators are installed on thin exterior walls a significant portion  of heat may escape to the outside. To prevent this, a reflector film should be attached inside the wall.

Check that radiators are not obstructed by furniture or cover panels. Remove them if possible.

Use CO2 meters to determine the right instant/moment for airing. Use plants for a good room climate (healthy humidity).

Office equipment and appliances

Purchase electricity meters to detect excessive energy users or unnecessary loads (e.g. old inefficient fridges or monitors). Purchase detachable plug boards to avoid standby. Apply smart meters to have an overview on your energy consumption at any time.

By using a power meter you can measure the electricity consumption of your devices and discover hidden energy hogs in an easy way. Also standby losses caused by devices that are not turned off completely such as televisions or mobile chargers can be measured precisely.

The learning and energy saving effect can be huge - or do you know how much electricity your coffee machine consumes compared to your computer? The power meter is simply inserted between the socket and the device, displays the current electricity consumption. You can compare these figures with the consumption of new products you see in stores by checking the energy labels on refrigerators, computers, printers, refrigerators etc. You can buy power meters for less than €20 at most hardware stores.

When you are replacing old inefficient equipment, buy A-rated devices (monitors, computers, servers, fax, etc.) also considering the remote energy consumption especially of devices that cannot be switched off (servers, fax). Check energy star and Eurotopten recommendations and the EU energy label. Along with saving energy directly, this equipment can reduce air conditioning loads, noise from fans and transformers, and electromagnetic field emissions from monitors.

Use efficient appliance for the office kitchen (fridges, coffee machines, stoves, dish washers, microwaves, water boilers). When purchasing new appliances be mindful of models which bear the EU energy label. The EU energy label provides you with information about energy consumption and overall energy performance of a household appliance with colors ranging from dark green (high energy efficiency) to red (low energy efficiency).

Unplug your chargers. Don't let your cell phone, camera or iPod charger sit in the outlet when not in use. Power is continually drawn through the charger, whether your device is plugged in or not. If you leave it plugged in, the charger will continue to use 95% of the electricity it uses to charge your phone.