Energy-Saving Tips for Your Law Office
The best energy and dollar savings are the result of well designed, comprehensive efficiency upgrades to your office. Comprehensive upgrades take advantage of interactions between different energy systems and offer a competitive return-on-investment.
High utility costs are often a result of paying for energy that is wasted by lights, equipment, and heating/air-conditioning systems that are left on for long periods while not in use. Office buildings, for example, waste up to one-third of the energy they consume.
You can encourage employees to bring their green actions from home to work. Take initiative and educate your employees to turn off lights and equipment when not in use and enable the power management features on computer equipment. Work with your energy and facility management teams to make sure systems are operating properly and then consider upgrades to enhance energy-efficiency. Consider installing occupancy sensors in conference rooms, store rooms, or other areas not continuously occupied.
This article shows you how easy it is to cut your energy use in the office. The easy, practical solutions for saving energy include tips you can use today -- from the temperature control to appliances and lights. They are good for your law firm's wallet and for the environment. FindLaw offers the following additional suggestions to help you plan and implement building improvement and save money.
Heating and Air Conditioning
- Establish a preventative maintenance program for your heating, venting and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment and systems.
- Ensure that you regularly change or clean all air filters.
- Clean all heat exchanger surfaces, water and refrigerant coils, condensers and evaporators.
- Repair leaks in piping, air ducts, coils, fittings and at the unit(s).
- Replace defective equipment insulation, ducting and piping.
- Install programmable thermostats.
- Turn off lights when not needed. For example, turning off fluorescent lights saves energy, extends overall lamp life and reduces replacement costs.
- Reduce or replace inefficient, outdated or excessive lighting within your building.
- Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps.
- Ensure that light levels will remain at adequate levels before changing out technologies and/or reducing number of lamps.
- Replace incandescent "EXIT" signs with LED signs. LEDs use about one-tenth the wattage and last 50 times longer than incandescent-lamp signs.
- Install lighting occupancy sensors that automatically turn lights on or off, depending on occupancy.
- Take advantage of natural daylight: turn off or dim electric lighting when adequate sunlight is available to illuminate interior space.
- Ensure outdoor lighting is off during daytime.
Office and Kitchen Equipment
- Clean refrigerator coils twice a year. Replace door gaskets if a dollar bill easily slips out when closed between the door's seals.
- Fix leaks. Small leaks add up to many gallons of water and dollars wasted each month. Water conservation saves energy and money, especially when it is hot water.
- Use water-saving faucets, showerheads, and toilets to save water.
- Install an insulation blanket on water heaters seven years of age or older, and insulate the first 3 feet of the heated water "out" pipe on both old and new units.
- Set water temperature only as hot as needed (110-120 degrees) to prevent scalds and save energy.
The Bottom Line
In the end, small adjustments can lead to big savings for yourself and your firm. Educating your employees is the quickest and most effective ways to help you conserve energy, trim costs, and gain control over the energy usage in your office. For more tips, visit Findlaw's Law Firm Management section to learn more.