Business owners have a responsibility to ensure that their company is doing its bit for the environment. Providing recycling bins for employees, ensuring that electronics are switched off at the end of the day, and keeping the air-con at a reasonable temperature all help towards making the office more eco-friendly. But what else can you do to ensure that you’re saving energy?
It’s easy to transform your old workplace appliances with just a few simple steps. This has the added benefit of saving the company money in the long term – and it costs nothing to implement. Read on to learn how you can make your workplace eco-friendlier by getting the most out of your appliances:
The office kitchen
Office appliances need just as much care as your home appliances. Just as your home fridge needs a little attention, so too does the work canteen’s fridge! A fridge should last for around 10 to 20 years before it needs replacing, but if you reckon your workplace fridge is past its best, be sure to opt for an eco-friendly model; there’s loads of energy-efficient models on the market right now.
Let’s focus on the fridge in the office kitchen for now. When was the last time the coils were cleaned? It’s likely been a while, but according to Architectural Digest, cleaning a fridge’s coils can make for a more energy-efficient machine.
Cleaning the office fridge is easy, simply:
- Turn off the fridge
- Put on gloves to protect your hands
- Locate the appliance’s coils (usually, they are at the back, top, or bottom of the fridge)
- Remove the base grill if the coils are on the top or bottom or pull the fridge out carefully to access the coils if they are located at the back
- Take a refrigerator coil brush and clean out the dirt and debris that has accumulated on the coils
- Clean the floor around the appliance before putting it back in place
Does your office have its own dishwasher? It’s good practice to wait for a full load before setting the dishwasher off, so encourage employees to stack it to a full load rather than washing in bursts. For the last load of the working day, you could leave the door of the dishwasher open to let the dishes air dry overnight instead of using the energy-hungry drying cycling.
Newer versions of appliances are generally more eco-friendly, but as we have found, older appliances can all be greener with a little bit of care. When replacement becomes unavoidable though, take some time to look at the energy-efficiency of models and view it as an investment to saving money and energy in the long run for your business.
The air-con units
As we all know, it’s important to be comfortable during busy work days. The office air conditioning unit is no doubt a much-loved addition to the workplace, as it keeps your staff working at a comfortable temperature. After all, working in a too-warm or too-cold environment will stall progress and hamper workplace morale. So, don’t neglect the hard-working appliance — give it a check over every so often to make sure it is running to the best of its ability.
It’s a good idea to call in a professional to take a look at the air conditioning units in your workplace in order to ensure that they are working to their full potential. One of the most obvious key signs that it’s time for a check over is if the unit is making strange noises.
Many businesses are guilty of leaving equipment on standby overnight – if you have a large number of computers, TV screens and other monitors, it’s important to make sure that they are properly switched off by staff before leaving the office. It’s also a good idea to get someone to check the electric connection on all devices before leaving, so that nothing is left on standby. It sounds like a lot of effort, but equipment left on standby can use around 50% of the electricity they would use when in operation. If it’s not going to be used for a while, the equipment should be switched off entirely.
Leaving brightly coloured notes in the office to remind staff to turn off their devices at the end of the day is a pretty effective way of doing this. This simple tip will save you money on your business’ bills, as well as taking a step towards being more environmentally friendly.
Boilers tend to last a long time, with a lifespan of approximately 15 years or more. If your boiler isn’t quite that old yet, however, there are still steps you can take to making it more energy efficient. If you’re not already in the habit of having the heating turned off when the office is empty overnight, do so. You can always set a timer for the heating to come on an hour or so before the first staff members arrive, so they aren’t walking into a freezing workplace.
It’s also wise to turn down the thermostat by just a couple of degrees. It’s unlikely to make a huge difference to the comfort of the workplace, but even just one degree lower can save you money and energy.
If your business does need a new boiler, the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has recently launched the Cleaner Heat Cashback scheme for small and medium-sized businesses in order to support them in replacing older boilers with newer, eco-friendly systems.