Saving electricity improves the bottom line

February 26, 2014 by  
Filed under Solar Energy Tips

In the second piece of a 2-part series on energy conservation and energy efficiency, we will look at reducing electricity consumption in the workplace. 

It’s not looking good for your business, your accountant tells you. Operational costs are increasing, the employees are asking for a wage increase and the recent electricity tariff increase is cutting into your profit margins. 

So you have decided that from next week onwards, the office will be undergoing an austerity drive. The air-cond will only be turned on for four hours a day, staff are to work beside the windows so that lights can be turned off and no computers will be  allowed – everything has to be handwritten.

Hang on now! Before you make such drastic changes, how about taking more moderate and practical measures that will help to reduce electricity consumption without sending your staff back to the Dark Ages? 

Just like in the home, there are many easy and cost-effective steps towards reducing your electricity bill. Saving electricity helps a company to reduce its operating costs and ultimately improves the bottom line. It also helps to significantly reduce its carbon footprint and enhances the company’s corporate image as a responsible business that cares for the environment.

Conduct an energy audit

An energy audit of the workplace will help you to assess how much electricity is being used in the office/building/facility, where energy is being wasted and what measures can be taken to be more energy  efficient.

The good news is, you do not have to specifically employ an Energy Manager to conduct energy audits. You can contact TNB Energy Services Sdn Bhd (TNBES) to carry out walk-through audits or comprehensive audits, and help you strategise your energy savings. Their main business is in green energy and their emphasis is on Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency and Consultancy services.

Make energy efficiency a workplace policy

Energy conservation and energy efficiency in the workplace must be embraced and practiced by all the employees. Begin by educating everyone in the workplace. Create an energy-efficient work culture and inculcate a sense of responsibility among them. Remind them that it is everyone’s duty to use less resources, help save the environment and that only a concerted effort will succeed. Encourage them to come up with new ideas to reduce electricity consumption. 


Here are some measures that can be implemented to conserve energy:

Lights: Designate a person and/or leave instructions that the last person to leave a room or the office is to ensure that all the lights are switched off. Switch off the lights if you are leaving the room for longer than a few minutes, or if daylight is adequate. If you are working in one part of a room, isolate the lights to that area only. Rearrange the workspace and keep windows clean to take advantage of natural lighting, as studies show that it enhances productivity. An energy audit would have shown whether there is excessive lighting in work or common areas.

IT equipment: These gadgets and machines consume a lot of electricity. Below are some tips to use them more efficiently.

• Use energy saving features available on electronic equipment.

• Optimise energy settings on your computer, for example, shut off the monitor or put the computer on sleep mode when you are away for short periods of time. Screen savers do not save energy.

• Switch off office equipment when not in use. Make sure nothing is left on standby mode. It is a myth that frequent shutdown can shorten the lifespan of computers.

• Label equipment and switches so that it is clear how to switch something on when it is needed.

• Unplug devices that are not in use.

• Use energy efficient equipment – look for energy labels. Remember: the more stars, the better.

• Switch from desktop computers to laptops.

• Replace ageing printers and copiers. Consider replacing separate devices with a single multifunctional machine as it consumes less electricity. Choose new devices with a fast warm-up time.


Printers:
The printer is one of the most used office items. You can reduce printer use by not printing copies of every version of a report or project. Save copies on your computer and print only when the need arises. Print in fast/economical mode.


Air-conditioners:
These are the biggest energy guzzlers in a workplace. Position thermostats away from draughts, direct sunlight and near machinery or equipment that gives off heat, as this will ensure that they give the accurate temperature. Keep doors and windows closed when air-conditioners are in use. Make sure that the air-conditioners and/or systems are regularly maintained to save energy and operating costs. If the units or systems need renewing, install energy-efficient equipment. To ensure that air-conditioners are truly effective, keep the cool air in by adding insulation to the walls and ceilings. Coat windows with heat rejection window films to reduce UV rays that enter.


Kitchen equipment:
Make sure you use the kettle, refrigerator and microwave oven efficiently. Avoid leaving the refrigerator door open for longer than is necessary. Only fill the kettle with the amount of water you need. Unplug the kettle and microwave when not in use.


Workspace:
Use cubicles instead of rooms, as cubicles share light sources and air-conditioning.


Behavioural changes:
Employers can motivate staff to change their behaviour by providing incentives, such as holding inter-department competitions, giving rewards and encouraging leadership in energy management.

Until December 2015, the government is offering incentives to all companies that wish to embark on energy efficiency projects in their installation. Companies have to apply to Malaysian Industrial Development Authority (MIDA) and the Energy Commission for evaluation of the viability of the projects. Companies that receive approval will be eligible for Investment Tax Allowance, Pioneer Status, as well as Sales Tax and Import Duty Exemption.


Contact TNB ES to arrange for an energy audit or review for your workplace. Tel: 03 7662 5111; email: enquiry@tnbes.com.my ; website: http://www.tnbes.com.my/

  • Pan Swee Chin is a freelance writer, currently working with the Centre of Strategic Engagement (CENSE).

Related story:

Ways to reduce electricity consumption at home

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