Lighten Your Load Reduce Energy Consumption in Buildings by Unplugging Electronics
FOOTBALL IS A GAME OF INCHES. YOU FIGHT FOR EVERY YARD TO MAKE A FIRST-DOWN OR TOUCHDOWN. IN ENERGY MANAGEMENT, WE FIGHT FOR EVERY QUARTER POINT OR HALF POINT OF REDUCTION. IT ALL ADDS UP.
Computers, printers, copiers, fax machines, coffee makers and cell phone chargers use energy in increments; refrigerators and vending machines use a bit more. When all these devices are in use at one time, the energy adds up. Collectively, plug loads account for 20 to 30 percent of an office building's energy consumption.
Before addressing plug loads at your building, look around your home, as an example. You may be surprised by the number of devices that use electricity continuously. These "energy vampires" constantly drain energy while plugged in, even if they're turned off. They also generate heat, increasing the cooling required. Perform an inventory of all equipment plugged in within your building and you may be shocked--pardon the pun.
At the office, completely unplug equipment, where practical, or plug several pieces of equipment into a power strip that's turned off at the end of every day. This stops the continual use of stand-by power. Place signs near energy-consuming equipment to remind tenants to unplug devices manually.
When equipment is in use, ensure it's the most efficient available. Establish a policy to only buy ENERGY STAR qualified lighting and equipment, such as vending machines and refrigerators, which use up to 75 percent less energy. Encourage tenants to do the same, and consider putting this policy in leases. See www.energystar.gov/products for qualified product categories.
Task lighting should use compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) or light-emitting diodes (LEDs). …