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Simple Ways to Encourage Employees to Reduce Energy Use

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It’s obvious that every type of business needs power to keep it running. But there’s often an untapped power source business owners like you could be overlooking: your own employees.

When it comes to reducing your electricity use, whether it be to remain within budget or to reach sustainability goals, your employees are the secret weapon.

When setting up a business, the items that use power quickly go well beyond lights and computers.  Printers, fans, coffee pots, clocks, lamps, thermostats and many more big and small items get added to the list until you've got dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of unconsidered devices and appliances constantly sucking power from your outlets.

Even items that are officially turned off may still be drawing a certain amount of 'phantom load' which is power lost running through dormant, but not disconnected appliances. While keeping all the appliances and devices in the right mode at the right time would be an overwhelming job for any one person, you might be amazed at how much power you save when you get the whole staff involved in conservation procedures.

Make a Company-Wide Goal

The first step to reducing your energy consumption is to announce your goal to the company, and possibly your public community as well. This is not just an admirable aim for the environment and a hit with the greener members of your social media audience, it can also bring down your monthly overhead and boost employee morale as they get involved in something that matters.

Don't just send out a memo to the staff, make a big announcement with everyone gathered in the same room if possible. Make a moving speech about reducing your power use. Then let your team know that you could not possibly do it without them and that each employee is a valuable member of the team effort.

Before you even begin to organize, simply encourage everyone to start saving energy on their own. Every effort counts, from turning off a desk lamp to taking a moment to turn off all the department lights on the way out in the evening.

Assign a Chief Energy Officer

The next step is to start organizing specific energy saving efforts. This is best done with a capable leader at the head of a team. Select an employee to serve as your chief energy officer who will spend some of their time each week thinking of new ways to save energy, organizing teams to implement, and ensuring that any successful strategies are maintained in order to continue gaining the benefit of their brainstorming.

The chief energy officer will become your go-to source for both ideas on how to save energy and plans to implement these ideas.

  • Plans and Big Changes
    While individual employees will be free to make little improvements like remembering to turn off their own personal devices or collaborating to turn off certain shared devices like the coffee machine in the break room, your chief energy officer will have the authority to make decisions like whether or not to unplug your wifi printers over the weekend, to install smart monitors into power cables and outlets to monitor local consumption, and even propose much bigger changes like venting the hot air from a manufacturing process through a filter and into your ducts as an inexpensive way to augment your heating efforts.
  • Showing Results
    The chief energy officer will also oversee tracking which efforts effectively save energy and collecting feedback on how the office feels about any experimental new energy saving policies.

    By the end of a three month period, you should start to see a significant sign of your chief energy officer's implementations and they should be able to produce at least a preliminary report on the effectiveness, efficiency and viability of their most recent strategies.
  • Ask the Staff to Brainstorm
    Your chief energy officer may be a rockstar at the organization but the 'two heads are better than one' principle applies here as well.

    Rather than simply relying on one person to come up with all the good ideas, don't forget that every one of your staff has a potentially brilliant, creative and innovative mind.

    That said, often when an employee has a great idea for their company, the idea is casually mentioned to their coworkers, laughed about and forgotten. To encourage these ideas to surface and become useful, it's important to encourage your employees to share their thoughts and to get creative about saving energy.
  • Sharing in Group Meetings
    One great way to get everyone involved is to hold a weekly energy meeting where everyone spends a little time thinking about the question at hand. Ask for suggestions, write them down on a board and take a preliminary vote for the ones everyone likes best. To get a shotgun of ideas, not just from the brave people who will speak up at a group meeting, pass out index cards and ask everyone to write one to three energy saving ideas, then pass the cards in before the end of the meeting. While you will get a lot of repeats and a few really far-fetched theories, there will also be several gems that your chief energy officer will be able to implement right away.
  • The Energy Inbox
    The weekly meeting is effective and welcoming, but you should also have a backup suggestion box for people who missed the meetings, are shy, or want to share an idea before they forget. Make sure your chief energy officer has a special email inbox just for ideas from the rest of the staff and ensure that every staff member knows where to send their thoughts and innovations on how to reduce the company's power usage.

Power Patrols

Finally, while the ideas are coming in and new theories are being tried every week by your chief energy officer and their teams of assigned or volunteer energy auditors, you can also begin to reward employees who identify and resolve energy inefficiencies.

In the evenings and before the weekend, encourage employees to form patrols and sweep the building for signs of items that are on when they should be off, plugged in when they can be unplugged to avoid power load, and lights left burning in empty offices.

For each 'infraction' corrected, give the patrolling team a point. Whoever gets the most points at the end of the patrol either wins a prize, gets their patrol team name on a leaderboard, or both. As for individual energy inefficiency hunters, a little personal recognition for dedicated employees goes a long way.

Saving power for your business isn't all about big tactics or big solar panels. When you calculate in phantom load, computers and appliances left on overnight, and dozens of personal powered devices, you may well be amazed at the dip in your power bill once the staff start to take power-saving matters into their own hands.

With the creative and dedicated support of your team, you could reach your energy-efficiency goals in record time.

Get started today with this FREE poster kit. Hang these reminders up around your business/office and get a head-start on your energy saving goals! 

free energy saving poster kit


Posted: January 24, 2018