The same way the Christmas break can mean rest and relaxation for you and your family, it’s an opportunity for your office appliances to experience a similar reprieve – reducing your electricity bill and shrinking your environmental impact in the process. In fact, it’s possible to save up to 5% off your annual electricity bill if you shut down for a two week period over the Christmas break.
But an effective shutdown takes forethought and coordination. Before you go rushing out of the building on your last day of work, there are several things to consider that will help save office energy costs over the summer period and lead to a more energy-efficient year ahead.
Consider your Christmas decorations
While Christmas lights around the office can certainly add some festive cheer to end-of-year business, they can also cause an unnecessary spike in your electricity costs. When choosing decorations, opt for LED lights as they typically use use 90% less electricity than other Christmas lights. As well as this, a simple – though often overlooked – way to cut electricity costs is ensuring Christmas lights are only used when people are in the office. This can be easily organised with a timer that turns the lights on during working hours, and off after-hours or over the Christmas break. Fibre optic lighting is also an effective, energy-saving idea, as well as standard, non-electrical decorations.
Share the responsibility
Before everyone is swept up with the silly season, it’s a good idea to bring the team together and establish who will be responsible for which energy-saving measures before going away on holidays. Depending on the size of your team, each person could be responsible for a piece of equipment and it’s their job to ensure the device is switched off at the powerpoint before leaving for Christmas Break, as leaving power on at the wall socket still consumes electricity, regardless of if the device is in use. By sharing the responsibility, you can ensure all devices – from computers, printers and photocopiers to kettles, toasters and microwaves – are turned off over Christmas.
Watch the temperature
If your office is closed over Christmas, there’s no need for your air conditioning to be on full blast while no-one is there to enjoy it. If possible, turn the cooling off while no-one is working. If some workers are dropping in and out of the office, the air conditioning can be turned on temporarily, but the system should not be set below 23 degrees. This level should be enough to cool your workers, while also using the minimal amount of energy – a few degrees can make a huge difference to your electricity bill.
Change your lightbulbs
It may not seem like the most obvious Christmas gift for yourself or your business, but investing in LED light bulbs to replace traditional bulbs can reduce your electricity bill by up to 80 per cent. Not only that, but LED light bulbs can last a lot longer than traditional, and even energy efficient, lightbulbs.
LED bulbs are often pricier to purchase, but the savings and long-term benefits certainly outweigh the initial costs. You may also want to consider installing dimmers on some lights in the building so the brightness can be dimmed when the space is not in use. This will also save on energy costs.
Use the break for maintenance
As the building clears out over Christmas, it is a great time to take care of any maintenance tasks. Look to servicing elevators and repairing equipment such as fridges and air conditioning. By regularly maintaining these devices, which receive so much use during the business year, it can boost their performance and enhance their energy efficiency.
Consider solar power
Although it’s not something that will save energy costs over the Christmas period exactly, it might be a good idea to consider switching to solar power while everyone is out of the office. The price to install solar power panels has reduced drastically in recent years, making it more affordable than ever before to go green. As well as providing an environmentally-friendly source of electricity to your building, some solar panels act as a very effective rooftop insulating system, which can help reduce heat inside your building. Installing solar panels this Christmas could mean a double win for the environment, and your office.