Green changes that mean savings for you and the environment

by Leigh Pearson

We are asked to do the right thing for the environment on a regular basis. But what is the right thing?
If you are like me, you have questioned how you can really make a difference. The volume of  information, factual and otherwise, about environmentally friendly products and services is overwhelming. However, here are a few things you can do that really will help you save the planet... and your money.

1. Lighting

Change your lightbulbs to compact fluorescent. Typical incandescent is 60 watts and a comparable fluorescent is 13  watts. That is a significant kilowatt reduction when you look at how many hours you operate your lights and the fact that on average, the cost per KW is 10 cents.

If you have fluorescent, is it T12 technology? If so, it is very inefficient and will not be supported in the years to come. Not only will you see a payback by retrofitting to T8 or T5 with electronic ballasts but in many cases, retrofits are eligible for rebates through your local utility. Ontario currently offers the Power Savings Blitz small business program with significant incentives for lighting retrofits. If you are already using T8 or T5, what is the wattage you are using? Perhaps you could reduce from a 32 watt to a 25 watt bulb or reduce the number of tubes and add a reflector. Again, look at the reduction X the number of bulbs X the run time X the cost of the electricity. It does not take long to add up.

Turn off your lights when not in use (interior and exterior). While you may need to keep some lights on overnight for security reasons, most can be turned off, so check your timers, automation systems, or flick the switch to ensure you are not using energy unnecessarily.

2. Temperature

Raise your set points by a degree; ensure you are using night set backs so you are not heating or cooling unnecessarily. Raising your cooling set point in the summer by 1 degree F and lowering your heating set point in the winter by 1 degree F could mean a 2% to 3% savings on your total energy bill. If you have south or west-facing windows, consider shades or solar screens to reduce air conditioning needs in the summer months.

3. Equipment

Screensavers use more energy than setting your computer to sleep mode.

Turn off your equipment when not in use. To make it easier, use a power bar so you can simply flick one switch to turn off all your equipment each night. And when buying new machinery, look for the Energy Star designation.

Set your printer/copier to double-sided printing and you will save  paper.

Food service businesses can save by cleaning the coils on refrigerators and freezers twice a year and installing a humidity sensor on the heating units in the door seals to reduce condensation.

A little bit of change can make a big difference.  For more Green changes that mean savings for you and the environment click here.

Have you made any “green” goals for your business this year? If so, we’d love to hear about them!

Leigh Pearson is the manager of facilities and environmental services for STAPLES/Bureau en Gros and has been with the company for over 12 years. Ms. Pearson is responsible for overseeing more than 300 stores and home office maintenance. As manager of facilities and environmental affairs she implemented the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Recycling Program in select Ontario stores, as part of the Ontario Electronic Stewardship’s launch. This pilot program allows customers to recycle electronic waste, diverting it from landfills.  In addition, Ms. Pearson put into practice eco-conscious cleaning supplies in STAPLES stores and home office and piloted the Lights Out program, reducing more than 911,000 kilowatts of power.

By Adam

January 12, 2010