With the U.S. Energy Information Administration reporting offices and office buildings account for nearly 20 percent of all energy use in the United States, Stephen Ashkin, chief executive officer of Sustainability Dashboard Tools LLC, developer of a cloud-based system that tracks, measures, and monitors sustainability, prepared a list of six steps facility owners/managers can take to reduce building energy use and operating costs:
• Have workers turn off the monitors of computers that will not be used for more than 20 min. If a computer will not be used for more than two hours, have them turn off both the monitor and the computer.
• Color-code power sources and power-using equipment so that cleaning professionals know what can be turned off at the end of the business day.
• Turn off or avoid using items that produce “heat,” such as coffee makers and space heaters.
• Institute a weekly work-from-home day.
• Conserve water. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, running water and treatment facilities for one year requires as much energy as powering 5 million houses annually.
• Install an alternative energy source. A small wind turbine or solar power system can pay for itself by covering the energy needs of a facility. What’s more, selling extra power back to the utility company may be possible.
“When energy usage and costs are reduced, this information should be celebrated and communicated to all staff,” Ashkin said. “This helps motivate everyone to continue (to) build on their accomplishments.”