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Saving Energy with Office Equipment

September 30, 2014 | 0 comments

With so much attention paid to lighting, HVAC, and other major building systems when it comes to energy-saving projects, it can be easy to overlook the small changes to everyday processes and equipment that can add up to major energy savings.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, office equipment consumes nearly 7% of commercial electricity, costing commercial buildings across the country approximately $1.8 billion total each year.

Working with the tenants or occupants in your building to implement small changes to the use of office equipment may help you further reduce monthly energy bills (and environmental impact). Although not all of these changes directly affect the facilities management department, building owners and managers can work with IT and office administration to implement changes that may free up money to re-invest in additional energy-conservation measures.

Energy Savings with Printers
Printers use more energy per unit than any other piece of office equipment, according to Riso Inc. Setting printers to print dual-sided by default won’t reduce energy usage, but tenants and occupants will use half as much paper. This could add up to major savings, depending on how much printing and copying your organization does.

Work with IT to locate printers on tables or other furniture that allows for good airflow. If possible, printers should be located in areas of the building with natural ventilation to potentially reduce the need for additional air-conditioning to offset heat generated by the equipment.

If your organization is in the market for new copiers or printers, purchasing ENERGY STAR imaging equipment may achieve energy savings of up to 55% as compared to standard models, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Implementing network printing (multiple computers sharing one printer) vs. using personal printers will also reduce energy use – the fewer devices being plugged into outlets, the less energy that’s being dedicated to powering them.

It’s also important to utilize sleep and standby modes during the day. At night, however, you’ll save the most energy by turning the equipment off completely and powering it up again the next morning (or whenever it’s needed next).

Energy Savings with Computers
Laptop computers typically use less than 50% as much energy than traditional desktop computers, according to Riso Inc. Working with IT to set up workstations that accommodate laptops with docking stations instead of desktop computers can save energy, and also take up less space (possibly allowing for smaller workstations).

As with printers and copiers, using the sleep and other energy-saving modes on computers – whether they’re laptops or desktops – will also help your organization reduce energy use. Some third-party screensaver applications may prevent computers from entering these modes, so work with IT to ensure that these applications aren’t being used by tenants or occupants.

ENERGY STAR laptops and desktops – much like ENERGY STAR printers and copiers – must meet stringent typical energy consumption (TEC) requirements. Investing in this certified equipment reduces energy use as compared to a non-ENERGY STAR certified computer. All ENERGY STAR computers also have efficient internal or external power supplies to ensure increased energy savings whether they’re in use or in low-power mode.

Are you paying attention to smaller devices and equipment in your office environment? What changes have you made to reduce energy use?

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