How many of you turn off the lights when you leave a room?
Have you replaced your light bulbs with more energy-efficient ones? I'm sure you turn off the lights when you leave a room. And, of course, you adjust the air conditioning or heat based on when you're at home or in the office.
These are simple, common-sense steps nearly everyone takes to save on their electric bill.
But what about your office equipment?
Here's another under-the-radar tip about saving money that is often ignored – older office equipment is less energy efficient and costs more to operate (and probably needs to be upgraded for other reasons too).
Office equipment – printers and copiers (mostly) – account for 3% of energy use in offices in the United States.
While I doubt that any of you reading this have an older analog copy machine, if you are call a copier dealer! Those machines aren't energy-efficient (and if still in use, are even less so than when new). They are loud. They create more heat than a digital copier – and that can cause you to crank the thermostat a little lower to compensate.
Whatever the copiers and printers you have in your office are, the following tips will help you conserve energy.
- ENERGY STAR ratings do make a difference. Devices certified as ENERGY STAR qualified will use somewhere between 30% and 75% less energy than non-qualified office equipment.
- Use sleep mode and automatic shut off. If you're office has one or two printers or copiers, honestly that's not a huge difference (though it is cheaper). When your office has dozens or more copiers and printers, ensuring that the equipment draws as little energy as possible when not in use (especially outside of office hours and on the weekends) will add up. Likewise, turn those monitors off when you go home for the day and over the weekend.
- While copiers require less heat than in the past to fuse toner to paper (though still 400 degrees or so), they can throw off heat when used frequently. When possible, keep office equipment in a well-ventilated area with good airflow to limit air conditioning needs.
- Get the right copier. I know, I know; this sounds like a broken record from us! It's still true. The larger the copier, the more energy it'll need to operate – not to mention if you don't NEED the functionality, you've wasted money. On the other hand, running a copier or printer over capacity will add more wear and tear and shorten the lifespan of the equipment (not to mention the need for more frequent maintenance).
- Do an energy audit. Your utility company may offer this for free. You'll see your energy consumption and receive additional ideas for green IT.
- Find out how much energy your equipment is drawing with a kilowatt meter. From an article from mnenergysmart.com:
- “Awhile back, Energy Smart tested a medium-sized copy machine in our office using our kilowatt meter. We found that while the machine was turned on, but not making copies, it used about 0.42 kilowatt hours. So if left on 24/7, that machine would cost about $295 a year or $25 a month. By turning it off when offices are closed, we calculated savings of about $225 a year.”
- You can get a kilowatt meter for $25 or so from most hardware stores – or online via Amazon.
If you have ENERGY STAR equipment, check out the rebate finder here. Depending on your locality, you could be eligible for a rebate (this is for consumers too, so if you're buying a TV or computer, give it a look!).
From the ENERGY STAR site:
If all imaging equipment (copiers, printers, scanners, all-in-one devices, fax machines, and mailing machines) in the United States was ENERGY STAR certified, we could save more than $1 billion in electricity costs and prevent 17 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions every year - equal to the emissions from more than 1.6 million vehicles.
These are all quick, simple things you can do to add some money back into your bottom line.