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.
Itronics successfully tests manganese recovery process
Itronics - a Nevada-based emerging cleantech materials growth company that manufacturers fertilisers and produces silver - has successfully tested two proprietary processes that recover manganese, with one process recovering manganese, potassium and zinc from paste produced by processing non-rechargeable alkaline batteries. The second recovers manganese via the company’s Rock Kleen Technology.
Manganese, one of the four most important industrial metals and widely used by the steel industry, has been designated by the US Federal Government as a "critical mineral." It is a major component of non-rechargeable alkaline batteries, one of the largest battery categories sold globally.
The use of manganese in EV batteries is increasing as EV battery technology is shifting to use of more nickel and manganese in battery formulations. But according to the US Department of Interior, there is no mine production of manganese in the United States. As such, Itronics is using its Rock Kleen Technology to test metal recoverability from mine tailings obtained from a former silver mine in western Nevada that has a high manganese content.
In a statement, Itronics says that its Rock Kleen process recovers silver, manganese, zinc, copper, lead and nickel. The company says that it has calculated – based on laboratory test results – that if a Rock Kleen tailings process is put into commercial production, the former mine site would become the only primary manganese producer in the United States.
Itronics adds that it has also tested non-rechargeable alkaline battery paste recovered by a large domestic battery recycling company to determine if it could use one of its hydrometallurgical processes to solubilize the manganese, potassium, and zinc contained in the paste. This testing was successful, and Itronics was able to produce material useable in two of its fertilisers, it says.
"We believe that the chemistry of the two recovery processes would lend itself to electrochemical recovery of the manganese, zinc, and other metals. At this time electrochemical recovery has been tested for zinc and copper,” says Dr John Whitney, Itronics president.
“Itronics has been reviewing procedures for electrochemical recovery of manganese and plans to move this technology forward when it is appropriate to do so and has acquired electro-winning equipment needed to do that.
"Because of the two described proprietary technologies, Itronics is positioned to become a domestic manganese producer on a large scale to satisfy domestic demand. The actual manganese products have not yet been defined, except for use in the Company's GOLD'n GRO Multi-Nutrient Fertilisers. However, the Company believes that it will be able to produce chemical manganese products as well as electrochemical products," he adds.
Itronics’ research and development plant is located in Reno, about 40 miles west of the Tesla giga-factory. Its planned cleantech materials campus, which will be located approximately 40 miles south of the Tesla factory, would be the location where the manganese products would be produced.
Panasonic is operating one of the world's largest EV battery factories at the Tesla location. However, Tesla and other companies have announced that EV battery technology is shifting to use of nickel-manganese batteries. Itronics is positioned and located to become a Nevada-0based supplier of manganese products for battery manufacturing as its manganese recovery technologies are advanced, the company states.
A long-term objective for Itronics is to become a leading producer of high purity metals, including the U.S. critical metals manganese and tin, using the Company's breakthrough hydrometallurgy, pyrometallurgy, and electrochemical technologies. ‘Additionally, Itronics is strategically positioned with its portfolio of "Zero Waste Energy Saving Technologies" to help solve the recently declared emergency need for domestic production of Critical Minerals from materials located at mine sites,’ the statement continues.
The Company's growth forecast centers upon its 10-year business plan designed to integrate its Zero Waste Energy Saving Technologies and to grow annual sales from $2 million in 2019, to $113 million in 2025.