Climate change might be ruining the planet, but running an office costs money. Most companies don’t even consider going green, thinking it would raise their overheads. However, green options can also be practical — and your company can save the environment while saving a bit of money.
1. Block the Heat
Most offices consume significant amounts of electricity on air conditioning. While big glass windows are excellent in letting in natural light, they’re also the biggest points of heat transfer. Hot summers can turn your windows into magnifying glasses, raising temperatures in your office and forcing your cooling system to work overtime. The most modern office buildings will often windows that can turn opaque with a press of a button to minimize or limit heat transfer.
While smart glass is a good option, it can be expensive and it also requires extensive alterations that can shut your office down for more than a few days. Installing UV-filtering film is a more practical solution — and most window film installation companies will only take 1-2 days to cover your whole office. UV film blocks heat by up to 80 percent. It can appear as clear as you want it to, so you don’t have to worry about making your office appear gloomy.
2. Monitor Your Personnel
Most offices waste electricity heating or cooling rooms with little to no personnel. Compartmentalized heating and cooling hooked to a monitoring system should minimize wastage and keep electricity use at a minimum. Simple algorithms can track the location of every employee in your office, adjusting heating and cooling outputs to match the number of people in any given room. Of course, the same can be replicated by diligent use of electricity, with every person in the office making sure to turn things off when not in use.
3. Update Your Equipment
Don’t hesitate to modernize your office equipment every 2-3 years. While purchasing newer equipment can be expensive, maintenance and repair costs will go down and your office will suffer from less downtime. Most office equipment also get more energy-efficient each year. Newer equipment not only uses less electricity but also tends to run cooler than older ones — allowing your cooling systems to run at a lower capacity. Use LED lights as much as possible. LED lights use the least watts per lumen (unit of brightness) and they run colder than most lighting options.
4. Grow a Green Wall
Green buildings are being built all over the world. These buildings often have trellises or rooftops that contain vines or other plants. These green facades serve as a cover from the sun, reducing the heat that hits a building. They also regulate the temperatures around the building they are on, lowering outside temperatures by up to 30°C in the heat of summer. Green facades breathe life into its immediate environment. They reduce air pollution and particulate matter by up to 20 percent and noise levels by up to 10 decibels.
Green walls can require extensive modifications to your building. Aside from the trellises, you’ll also have to consider irrigation. Of course, a green wall should provide your company with tax exemptions from the UK government. Don’t limit your walls to the outside of your building. Allocate a wall or two inside your office for a few plants. It will make your office feel less claustrophobic and minimize the risk of sick building syndrome.
5. Go Solar
If you own your office building or have it on a long-term lease, a solar power system is a great option — especially since commercial spaces pay higher rates for electricity. While a few solar panels on the roof might not cover your entire office’s power consumption, they should significantly lower your electricity bills. A single 12-kW system should cut your office electricity bills by $100-$200 a month, and you can use the savings to pay for the monthly premiums (on a 10-year loan) on your panels.
Install as many as you can, because they are practically free. Solar power systems can last for 40 years or more and most solar companies guarantee their systems for the first 25 years (at 80-90 percent efficiency). Your office gets to cut its overhead for another 30 years and it also gets a bit of insulation to power price fluctuations.
There’s no better time to save the environment. Going green shouldn’t cost your company a penny, and you’ll get points for implementing practices and options to save the environment while also saving money by reducing your overhead.