Jun 16, 2024

Greener Tech Offices: Cutting Down on Energy Consumption

Blog post about Cutting on Energy consumption

Transitioning to a sustainable office takes time and commitment, but the benefits to both the business and the environment are substantial. Creating a greener workplace in tech companies involves more than just cutting costs; it's about encouraging sustainability and corporate responsibility. An eco-friendly office not only reduces energy consumption and carbon emissions but also attracts ambitious professionals and conscientious investors. Here’s how tech companies can create a greener workplace and contribute to a sustainable future.

What is an eco-friendly office, and why is it important?

Running a successful business is not an easy task, and keeping costs down is crucial. Hiring ambitious professionals and paying office rent are necessary expenses for company growth, and you don’t want to hold back on key investments.

One of the best ways to cut costs is by reducing energy consumption, which also contributes to fewer carbon emissions and a more sustainable environment. Both business owners and society as a whole have a lot to gain from eco-friendly initiatives.

The modern workforce and consumers are more educated and informed than ever, with access to information just one click away. Employees nowadays tend to choose companies that are aligned with their own values. This has motivated companies to practice corporate social responsibility to truly make a difference.

A company that strives to reduce energy consumption and offer green options attracts ambitious individuals. These individuals become proud ambassadors and are more likely to inspire others to join the team. It can also attract conscious and progressive investors, taking the business to the next level.

Thanks to climate-friendly initiatives, companies can shows that they truly walk the walk and don't just throw around fancy words.

How do you make sustainable choices?

When creating a sustainable office, most changes do not occur overnight. It takes time to implement green initiatives and to get everyone on board, as it requires a change of attitude and sometimes breaking old (and comfortable) habits. Not everyone likes replacing plastic straws with paper straws or being encouraged to bike instead of driving to work.

Aim to start small, especially with initiatives that directly impact employees. Sometimes it can help to create a fun challenge, like for instance gamifying the act of using as little plastic as possible or switching off office lights before leaving.

For more significant changes changes, concerning maintenance and office planning, it could be a good idea to get representatives from each department involved. Assign strategic planning to office and space managers. These roles can greatly benefit from using smart office tools such at workplace analytics to base their decisions on.

Energy-efficient lighting and equipment

The rise of LED lights has had a positive impact on our energy consumption since they use approximately 75% less energy. Another advantage of LED lights is that they can be dimmed according to the amount of natural sunlight. Turning on the lamp at full blast when the room is already bright from natural light is simply a waste.

Motion-activated switches make it easier to save energy, as they only turn on when someone enters the room. A well-lit room increases the level of comfort and makes the office environment feel safer for employees working late at night. When the lights switch on automatically, you tend to feel more at ease when entering a long hallway or the reception area. This solution is perfect for rooms and spaces that are not used frequently.

Another option to save energy is to use natural sunlight to create welcoming and comfortable office spaces. Open the blinds and let the light shine in.

Waste management and recycling

Don’t waste the opportunity to reduce the amount of waste. A great number of people occupy the office spaces every day, which can result in overflowing trash cans.

A favored option is to provide plenty of trash cans with clear labels indicating where each item belongs—one for glass, another for leftovers, and so on. You might not have an available compost, but there are companies that can provide this kind of service.

Also, set aside a day each month for collecting discarded electronics and batteries, which frequently are stored away in lockers and drawers, taking up unnecessary space.

Another way to reduce waste is to get rid of disposable paper cups and plastics. Why not offer everyone a refillable glass water bottle that sits conveniently on their office desk? Preferably with the company logo.

Consider whether it is necessary to print office policies and other information to hand out to the entire staff. Always print double-sided pages and make a habit of reusing scrap paper for making notes, as long as the information printed is not confidential.

It might be a better idea to upload all necessary documents to the company intranet instead. Save the trees!

Indoor plants and eco-friendly furniture

Green plants are lush and beautiful, bringing an aesthetic and calming vibe to the office. They can also reduce your office’s carbon emissions and function as natural air purifiers. It’s a win-win. We suggest stocking up on recommended plants like Peace Lilies, English Ivy, or Bamboo Palms.

You might also want to consider using eco-friendly materials for flooring, textiles, and furniture. Modern consumers often struggle to find products free from toxic and synthetic fibers. By looking for well-known brands with eco-labels, it should be easier to make the right choice. These products may be on the expensive side, but consider them a long-term investment that stands the test of time.

Assessing current office practices and identifying areas for improvement

Another idea is to identify where energy is wasted. You could also compare data over time to see if energy consumption goes up or down.

Air conditioning is common in modern offices, especially helpful during the warmer summer months. However, it may be worth considering raising the temperature a few degrees. If people are wearing sweaters and thick jeans inside the office on a hot summer day, it indicates that the temperature is too low. Adjust the thermostat accordingly to reduce energy consumption.

Be mindful of your HVAC systems, which can consume a lot of energy. Top-notch ventilation and heating are key to creating a comfortable office environment, so don’t miss the opportunity to optimize them. Regular maintenance includes cleaning filters and ensuring vents and ducts are unobstructed.

Stable indoor temperatures play an important role as well, and costs are reduced when less energy is needed to regulate them. Improved indoor air quality also increases employee well-being, making them more productive.

Using insulation materials for walls and roofs can reduce the heat exchange between the interior and exterior of the building. Invest in materials that improve thermal resistance and block extreme heat or cold.

Windows contribute significantly to energy waste, especially if they are old with single panes. Try to replace them altogether and add thermal curtains if needed to block direct sunlight or cold drafts.

Refrigerators and freezers waste a fair amount of energy, even more so if they are not cleaned and defrosted regularly. The buildup of frost inside the freezer blocks airflow, requiring more energy to cool the contents. Make it a habit to defrost the freezer to reduce energy waste.

Green roofs are a perfect way not only to add a touch of green to a dull, gray building but also to provide efficient insulation. They keep the building cooler and soak up rainwater instead of allowing it to flood the streets and surfaces. As a bonus, office buildings with green roofs help to cool the city as a whole.

Sustainable IT infrastructure

To cut energy costs, consider more automation. IT-related tasks and processes can be programmed to run during off-peak hours when electricity prices are lower. Additionally, less energy is needed to cool the spaces since computers and other electronic devices radiate a lot of heat. It is better to activate those systems during the night when the air is cooler.

Another suggestion is to optimize your hardware and replace devices once they become old and outdated. Newer models tend to be more energy-efficient, partly because they have solid-state drives instead of traditional HDDs.

You can also reduce the number of devices altogether by implementing cloud-based solutions instead of having servers in-house.

Encourage employees to reduce energy usage

Working with behaviors and attitudes is another key element to reducing energy consumption in the office. Remind everyone to power down their devices when leaving the office instead of putting them on standby. Standby mode increases energy consumption around the clock.

Is working remotely more eco-friendly than working in an office?

Heating and ventilation in a large office contribute to increased energy consumption. With the rise of hybrid work, more office space is unused, which is a waste of space and resources.

By right-sizing and downsizing the office, you can ensure that all office spaces are used efficiently, saving energy. Additionally, you can cut costs and spend the money on other eco-friendly initiatives.

Employees can also individually contribute to a decreased carbon footprint. Remote workers don't drive to work every day, thus reducing carbon emissions and creating a more sustainable society.

The future of sustainable office spaces

Creating a sustainable office can be challenging, especially since it can require renovations and installations of everything from solar panels to green roofs. Most eco-friendly materials have a hefty price tag, and it can sometimes be hard to convince the board that quality furniture and surfaces are the way to go.

If you want to reduce energy consumption, it is necessary to evaluate your current practices. Identify areas where resources like energy, materials, or water are being wasted. Assess recycling processes and determine if outdated equipment is consuming too much power.

Different teams can provide valuable insights from their daily routines that could lead to effective changes. The habits of each individual employee also play an important role, and they can be nudged in the right direction with practical recycling bins and mindful energy consumption. You can go big or small, but doing something is better than nothing. We owe it to our planet.

Want guidance on how to set up your hybrid office for success?

Feel free to schedule a meeting with one of our product experts to learn more about our solutions and how technology can help you streamline your office processes without interfering with employees' day-to-day work.

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