5 simple and economic ways to create a more sustainable office space
If asked the question “would your business like to be more sustainable?” the overwhelming majority would say yes. However, what to do and how to do it can be confusing, challenging and restricting, especially if switching to renewable energy sources is out of scope. Rest assured though, there are many economical changes you can implement that will still have huge benefits for the environment.
Dedicated to making a difference, Martyn Fiddler’s Isle of Man team are taking advantage of ‘Sustainable Mann’ workshops on offer by UNESCO Biosphere Isle of Man which aim to assist businesses to adopt more sustainable practises.
Here are our top 5 simple steps to become a more sustainable office:
1. Understand your energy use
Start with the basics. Dedicate time to understand your energy use so you can identify where performance improvements can be made and create a robust platform to measure success against in the future. The easiest way to get started is to analyse your energy bills. From there you should complete site energy audits and look at feasibility studies. It is important to conduct audits at varying times of day as results will differ at the start and end of the day, during operational hours and just before weekends/bank holidays. Follow up audits should be scheduled at key times such as clock changes and periods of temperature change to ensure systems are fit for the time of year. Once you’ve identified your opportunities, don’t expect to do everything at once; instead set clear, achievable targets that can be completed in manageable workstreams. You may even wish to implement an environmental management system; providing a more rigorous way to demonstrate compliance and a framework to embed good practice into business operations.
2. Think smart about your heating
Heating is the top source of energy consumption in offices. Constantly too cold, too hot? Does one side of the office complain they are sweltering while to opposite side come to work in woolly jumpers? If this is the case, you may need to reassess whether your thermostat is in the correct place. To keep your heating control system working at maximum efficiency it is essential to review the system regularly and adopt modern technologies. Likewise ensuring your boiler is regularly serviced can have a huge impact on consumption. While monitoring your heating consumption it’s also a good idea to get feedback from staff to identify hot or cold spots that may need maintenance to keep drafts at bay.
Aircon temperature discussions can get heated (see what I did there?!). It’s actually unrealistic to keep the thermostat the same throughout the year. We have all turned up at the office in shorts or summer dresses only to be left shivering because someone has turned the aircon down to 16 degrees just because its warm outside - It’s important to manage expectation. Amazingly reducing heating temperatures by just 1 degree can cut fuel consumption by 8%. In a large office this can save you enough energy to print over 40 MILLION sheets of A4 paper. So, if staff are dressed for winter you really don’t need to whack the heating up quite so much! 18-26 degrees is considered a range that most people are comfortable at in line with outside conditions.
3. Big savings can be made from lighting
Avoid blinds down and lights on. If your office is prone to direct sun light opt for daylight blinds, allowing natural light in but preventing unwanted glare and reducing the need to use lights. Put in place a switch off policy for lighting or introduce light sensors or timers, ensuring you match your system to occupancy patterns. One of the easiest ways to save energy is by switching to LED light bulbs, in fact it could help to reduce your energy bill by 30% in 2-3 years, making this simple switch hugely beneficial for both planet and pocket.
4. Optimise your office equipment
Always use official standards to support energy efficient purchasing. Make sure your printers are in a well-ventilated area to reduce cooling loads. When it comes to other office equipment the rule is very simple: turn them off when not in use! Office equipment left on standby during bank holidays and weekends not only shortens the lifespan of the equipment and is a waste of energy, but it could cost a small sized office-based business around £6,000 over the course of a year!
5. Measuring success
Seeing results for your efforts is a great feeling whatever you are striving to achieve, it gives you assurance you are on the right path and gives you motivation to keep going. It is therefore crucial to continue measuring your success, using the data gathered at the start of your journey. It isn’t all about being able to give yourself a pat on the back (although that is nice and well deserved), measuring your success will also help you to identify other areas for improvement and highlight areas lacking, needing some more thought.
Managing this data should not be underestimated, while noting energy bills reducing will be easy other metrics may be harder to analyse. If struggling you can always turn to certification schemes that offer help with reporting, emission reduction and engagement such as PlanetMark, Science Based Targets or Carbon Trust.
For more ideas and information about how you can adopt more sustainable practices, here are some helpful resources:
The information included in this article is considered true and correct at the date of publication; changes to rules and regulation made after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of the information referenced or inferred to in this article. The information in the article may change without notice and Martyn Fiddler Aviation is in no way liable for the accuracy of any information printed or stored or in any way interpreted and used by the user. This article or the information contained in it is not provided or intended to be used as advice of any form.
If you have any doubts or would like to discuss any aspect of this article, please do not hesitate to contact one of our experts who will be happy to discuss your individual circumstance.