Human beings, by our very nature, are creatures of habit. It’s very easy for us to get into the routine of doing the same thing every day once we’ve started, which is, generally speaking, a great way to tackle each day as productively as possible.
“Bad habits”, however, do exist, and certain parts of our routines can quickly become so ingrained in our daily lives that we don’t realise we’re even doing them, or the potentially negative side effects they may have.
It’s very likely that in the average workplace, your employees have their fair share of bad habits where energy use is considered.
Forgetting to turn off lights when leaving a room, leaving equipment on when not in use, disposing of any and all waste in the same way – these are just a few examples of bad habits that could have a potentially harmful impact on our wider environment (as well as on your business’s energy bills).
By making the most of the ease with which we can encourage other people and ourselves to adopt new habits, it’s a good idea for any workplace to dedicate a little time to educating employees about the effects that their “bad energy habits” might be having.
Converting these habits into more efficient, productive ones is generally quite easy; and will doubtless soon become second-nature to your employees.
With this in mind, here are a few examples of new, energy efficient habits you could introduce to your business:
According to the Energy Saving Trust, it’s possible to cut your heating bills by 10% in the workplace simply by reducing the room temperature by 1°C. This is a change you probably won’t even need to mention to your employees, because they’re unlikely to notice such a subtle change in temperature – but make sure that when things do start to get a bit chilly, your staff are encouraged to wear different layers of clothing rather than instantly head to the thermostat to kick it up a few degrees. It’s also a strong possibility that your water thermostat is turned up too high, so if you frequently find yourself becoming scalded by the taps, make sure your cylinder thermostat is no higher than 60°C.
Dripping taps can potentially waste gallons of water every year – just one dripping tap in your business could fill up an entire bath in as little as a week – so it’s definitely a good idea to make sure your employees fully turn off any taps when they’re finished using them. Employees can also save water and energy by making sure that any dishwashers or washing machines on your premises are completely filled before being switched on, as one full load will use much less energy than two half loads.
An incredible amount of electrical energy can be saved simply by switching off appliances, equipment and lights when they’re not in use. Unfortunately, it’s all-too easy to become distracted in the workplace by other more pressing tasks and forget to turn off everything after it has been used. But, by incentivising employees to reach a target reduction in energy use, this could encourage everyone to get on board and take extra care to switch off computer equipment, kitchen appliances, lighting and lamps, and chargers for laptops, mobile phones and tablets.
It really doesn’t take much to start an environmentally-friendly movement in your business. Even the smallest changes can make a difference if they become a force of habit, which can be a great long-term investment in not only the environment, but your company’s sustainability.
Kim Whitley, the author of this article, is an eco-enthusiast and writer for UKPower.co.uk, an energy price comparison website committed to helping businesses reduce their monthly gas and electricity bills. Follow Kim on Twitter for daily updates on energy, environment and entrepreneurship.
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