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Easy Ways to Save Energy at Work

By Karen Canas

energy-conservation-workplaceSaving energy isn’t always about huge changes. You don’t have to be a city planner or engineer installing a hydrodelectric dam to make a big difference in energy consumption. One of the best ways you can be a smart energy user is to take your regular practices to work.

Whether you work in an office building, a school or an industrial power plant, chances are good you can make changes and get your co-workers on the bandwagon to conserve energy like never before. Taking the time to make a few small changes in your workplace can make a huge difference in the long run, ElectricCompanies.com reports.

Recycling

Recycling plays a huge role in developing sustainable cities, towns and economies. Talk to your supervisor about starting a recycling program at your workplace, if one isn’t already in place. Then talk to others. Networking is a great way to get your co-workers excited about this kind of project.

One great way to encourage recycling is to have contests to see which office/classroom/etc. can set aside the most recyclable materials. Make it fun, keep it interesting, and keep people aware about what they can and can’t recycle. Once the ball is rolling, it’s easy to sustain.

Universities are creating specific departments that offer incentives, perks and contests to encourage students to aim for zero-waste policies. For example, the Office of Sustainability at the University of Arkansas offered cash prizes for organizations who recycled on campus. Use this example to encourage co-workers to follow suit.

Maintenance

Depending on the role you play in your office, this aspect of sustainability and energy savings may or may not be outside the scope of something you can impact. But an effective maintenance program in your workplace can save thousands of dollars on power every year and conserve as much energy as possible using the resources you already have.

Think of it like this. Little things such as making sure the HVAC units are running smoothly and as intended can save hundreds every month on power bills. Replacing ordinary light bulbs with more energy-efficient halogen or LED lights can also make a big difference. Replacing just one light bulb with an Energy Star efficency-rated bulb in every American home would collectively save $600 million dollars per year, EnergyStar.gov reports. Think about how much could be saved if every office did the same thing.

Installing movement-sensitive light switches is both convenient (lights come on hands-free) and energy-efficient (you can’t forget to flip the switch off when you leave the room). This type of system can save huge amounts of power, especially in office buildings, classrooms and other spaces where many people work.

Making a difference at your workplace might mean something as big as impacting the upkeep of the AC system or as mundane as encouraging your co-workers to throw scrap paper in the recycle bin instead of into the trash.

Regardless of the type of role you play, taking some of the energy-saving practices you use at home to be used in your workplace can make a big difference in energy consumption.

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Karen writes about environmental issues facing communities across the West

Image credit: UofSLibrary via Flickr

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