Energy Efficient Offices Offer Many Benefits
By Angie Mansfield
Creating an energy efficient office offers many benefits for employers and their workforce – not to mention the environment.
Whether a business owner is building a new office or looking to reduce energy consumption in their current space, there are measures they can take to reduce their company's footprint and save money.
Benefits of Energy Efficient Office
There are several reasons to consider building or improving one’s office's energy efficiency.
First, they will improve their company's bottom line – and these savings can be dramatic, depending on their current energy consumption. It will also help to keep energy costs down, especially if other businesses in the area follow the owner’s lead.
Business owners will also be helping the environment.
The EPA estimates that every 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity saved means 1,000 pounds less carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. And an energy efficient office burns through less non-renewable resources.
Build for Energy Efficiency
If a business owner is building from scratch, they can design efficiency into the construction. Things like solar power generators and geothermal systems will cut down one’s energy bill – and may even produce extra power.
Businesses can also consider their location, and build to either take advantage of or reduce glare from the sun to cut their heating or cooling costs (whichever is greater in their area). Make sure the building has plenty of insulation, and use tinted windows to further reduce cooling costs.
Change the Equipment
Energy Star-rated office equipment uses less energy and will save businesses money in the long run. Employers can also consider purchasing laptops, since they use up to 90 percent less energy than desktop computers.
Ditch the old, standard computer monitors for LED screens, which also use up to 90 percent less power. If one’s business doesn't require the screen space, consider buying smaller monitors to save even more energy.
Putting one’s office equipment, lights, and heating/cooling systems on timers or occupancy sensors will ensure that everything gets turned off when not in use. This measure alone can create a significant energy savings for the office.
Change Office Behavior
Perhaps the most important part of building an energy efficient office is to create an efficiency policy for the owner and their employees.
Here are a few rules to consider implementing:
·Turn off all equipment at night, on weekends, and other times no one will be in the office for extended periods.
·Use the power management feature on every computer in the office. This feature will drop the computer to sleep mode after a certain period of non-use, and can turn off the monitor.
·Copiers and printers have a sleep mode, too – but even in sleep, these machines absorb a lot of energy. Instead, power them down on nights and weekends. If employees have trouble remembering, business owners can install a plug-in timer that will take care of it automatically.
Energy efficiency is great for both the employer and the environment.
For those building a new company office space, talk to contractors about energy efficient measures to include in the design.
And even for those businesses working in an existing building, they and their employees can work together to reduce the company's energy consumption, and boost their bottom line.
About the Author: Angie Mansfield covers a range of topics for both small business owners and consumers, including nursery cribs.
Major move forward for UK’s nascent marine energy sector
Although the industry is small and the technologies are limited, marine-based energy systems look to be taking off as “the world’s most powerful tidal turbine” begins grid-connected power generation at the European Marine Energy Centre.
At around 74 metres long, the turbine single-handedly holds the potential to supply the annual electricity demand to approximately 2,000 homes within the UK and offset 2,200 tonnes of CO2 per year.
Orbital Marine Power, a privately held Scottish-based company, announced the turbine is set to operate for around 15 years in the waters surrounding Orkney, Scotland, where the 2-megawatt O2 turbine weighing around 680 metric tons will be linked to a local on-land electricity network via a subsea cable.
How optimistic is the outlook for the UK’s turbine bid?
Described as a “major milestone for O2” by CEO of Orbital Marine Power Andrew Scott, the turbine will also supply additional power to generate ‘green hydrogen’ through the use of a land-based electrolyser in the hopes it will demonstrate the “decarbonisation of wider energy requirements.”
“Our vision is that this project is the trigger to the harnessing of tidal stream resources around the world to play a role in tackling climate change whilst creating a new, low-carbon industrial sector,” says Scott in a statement.
The Scottish Government has awarded £3.4 million through the Saltire Tidal Energy Challenge Fund to support the project’s construction, while public lenders also contributed to the financial requirements of the tidal turbine through the ethical investment platform Abundance Investment.
“The deployment of Orbital Marine Power’s O2, the world’s most powerful tidal turbine, is a proud moment for Scotland and a significant milestone in our journey to net zero,” says Michael Matheson, the Cabinet Secretary for Net-Zero, Energy and Transport for the Scottish Government.
“With our abundant natural resources, expertise and ambition, Scotland is ideally placed to harness the enormous global market for marine energy whilst helping deliver a net-zero economy.
“That’s why the Scottish Government has consistently supported the marine energy sector for over 10 years.”
However, Orbital Marine CEO Scott believes there’s potential to commercialise the technology being used in the project with the prospect of working towards more efficient and advanced marine energy projects in the future.
“We believe pioneering our vision in the UK can deliver on a broad spectrum of political initiatives across net-zero, levelling up and building back better at the same time as demonstrating global leadership in the area of low carbon innovation that is essential to creating a more sustainable future for the generations to come.”
The UK’s growing marine energy endeavours
This latest tidal turbine project isn’t a first for marine energy in the UK. The Port of London Authority permitted the River Thames to become a temporary home for trials into tidal energy technology and, more recently, a research project spanning the course of a year is set to focus on the potential tidal, wave, and floating wind technology holds for the future efficiency of renewable energy. The research is due to take place off of the Southwest coast of England on the Isles of Scilly