Energy Conservation & Audit


The green revolution shouldn't be just about dusting off the recycling bins, buying organic apples and taking the bus once in a while. It's a change in lifestyle: a new consciousness about old habits and a willingness to take on new ones. Since we spend about 40 hours a week at our workplaces, isn't the office the best place to try out some new energy-saving tricks? Saving energy isn't just about saving the earth; it also can save a company money and it's simply responsible. The Environmental Protection Agency says that about 30 percent of energy consumed by office buildings is used inefficiently. Additionally, about 17 percent of greenhouse gas emissions come from commercial buildings' energy use. The Energy Information Administration estimates that if commercial and industrial buildings improved their energy efficiency by 10 percent, our economy could see yearly savings of nearly $20 billion. That's a lot of clicky pens. Use this top 10 list as a starting point for your go-green initiative; you'll be surprised how easy it is to adopt some of these habits.

Working late, cubicles full of people. We use a lot of energy at our offices and are too busy to notice. How can we save energy, the environment and some money?

Flip a Switch

Lighting consumes about 18 percent of India's generated electricity; another 4 to 5 percent of our electricity bill goes toward counteracting the heat these lights generate. If your office always feels just a little bit too stuffy, those light bulbs may be to blame. And because lighting generally makes up the highest portion of your company's monthly electric bill, it makes sense to attack the electrical inefficiencies first.

Shut off the lights at the end of the work day and as the weekend begins. If you find that you and your co-workers keep dropping the ball, motion-detecting lights may be your answer. These lights also may be an excellent solution to the problem of that seldom-used, always-illuminated cafeteria or conference room. And many businesses use motion-detecting lights for their buildings exteriors; they can keep your property safe if anyone approaches at night, but won't eat up excess energy.

Consider replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent units; they'll save around 50 percent on lighting costs, and last up to 10 times longer than traditional bulbs. Replace older fluorescent tube lighting with solid-state electronic ballast most efficient form of lighting is, of course, that big yellow ball in the sky; crank those blinds, open a couple of office doors or even install a skylight or two -- just let the sun shine in. Be sure to use sun wisely, like during the times of day and year when its heat won't build up and cause cooling problems.

Say Goodbye to Screen Savers

While they might be fun or pretty to look at, screen savers don't save energy; they require full power from your monitor and the same amount of energy from your computer as when you're working away on a spreadsheet. Additionally, our study found that nearly half of Indian workers who use a computer at work fail to even shut it down before they head home for the night. This bad habit ends eats up about billions of rupees in unnecessary energy costs every year.

So, before you step away for your lunch hour or coffee break, turn off your computer's monitor, or put it in "sleep" mode. Either of these actions significantly reduces the amount of energy consumed by the computer. If you're going to be away from your computer for longer, just shut it down. We suggest our employees to turning your monitor off or putting the computer to sleep before breaks of more than 20 minutes, and turning the computer off entirely if you plan on being away from your desk for two hours or more.

Carpool Transportation constitutes the fastest-growing major source of greenhouse gases. Between 1990 and 2003, emissions from passenger vehicles increased by about 19 percent. Commuting alone by car certainly can be a relatively relaxing and easy experience, but as fuel expenses rise, some co-workers who commute may appreciate your efforts to make commuting or carpooling an easy and rewarding experience. And it can also help save them some money in the long run.

In Sravan Shipping Services Private Limited, we brainstorm some fun incentives to encourage co-workers to use public transportation or to carpool. Employees who regularly use a bike, bus, train or their feet to get to work could receive financial help with their bus or train passes, coupons to local restaurants, fun prizes, or -- if you're up for it -- extra vacation days. Creating designated primo parking spaces for carpool participants could help encourage co-workers to share a ride, especially if you happen to live in a cold or rainy climate, where a shorter walk into the office might be appreciated!

Of course, knowledge is power, so we make sure our co-workers are aware of their transit and carpool options.

Go Paperless

According to our research, the average Indian uses about 450 pounds of paper annually. Indians, on the whole, throw away enough paper each year to build a 12-foot wall between cities. That's a long wall -- and a lot of paper and energy. So, before we print an e-mail or document, we stop and think: Do I really need a hard copy of this? How long will I keep it? Can I instead save this in an easy-to-find spot on my computer?

We save employee manuals or reference guides on a common server or other public hub instead of handing them out in hard-copy form. Not only we potentially save reams of paper, but employees also will always have access to the latest version of the document.

Of course, going completely paperless is nearly impossible. So we make sure that recycle bins are available and conveniently placed for employees to dispose of junk mail, envelopes, faxes and other paper waste. Invest in paper with a high percentage of post-consumer recycled content, and be sure to refill old ink cartridges instead of tossing them. Finally, if your printers are capable of printing double-sided, set them up to do so.

Check Your Vents

Some energy loss comes from inefficient heating or cooling in your building. We start with the simple questions. How's the circulation? Are your air ducts clean? Are your filters old and clogged? In addition, we regularly check and maintain the stripping around our office's doors and windows helps prevent wasteful gaps or leaks. Plugging leaks may slash up to 10 percent off your energy bill.

If we in the market for slightly more ambitious improvements, we take a look at your HVAC system. Throughout an air conditioner's lifespan, the water that courses through its condenser tubes may leave behind slimy buildup, which decreases the machine's efficiency. Occasionally we treat this problem with chemical or ozone cleaning helps keep our air conditioner in tip-top condition. If our air conditioner or heater is on its last legs, we consider replacing it with a more energy-efficient unit instead of continuing to pay for maintenance. Replacing an outdated A/C unit could reduce your cooling costs by up to 50 percent.

Additionally, sometimes, we paint our office's roof a lighter color & plant a rooftop garden -- also known as a "green roof"; see sidebar -- to deflect the the sun's heat on warm days, and enjoy added energy savings.


Installing a green roof can cool your office building, absorb rainfall and reduce runoff. Green roofs also help keep the air clean, because the plants also consume harmful carbon monoxide. The structure of a green roof is pretty simple; the roof is lined with a drainage layer, a waterproof membrane, soil or other growing material and finally plants. A green roof can be intensive, incorporating public spaces like gardens or vegetable plots; or extensive, incorporating simple plants into a sort of rooftop meadow.

We Follow use of good bulbs:

We use compact fluorescent or light bulbs, which require less frequent replacements, save money and energy. Although we may be eager to chuck off the old and bring in the new, we are very much sure to dispose of old lighting fixtures and appliances in an environmentally responsible manner; some may contain freon, mercury or other potentially hazardous materials. We contact your local recycling center and ask about disposal services for these items.

States governments offer incentives to buy appliances like this. And the biggest incentive is the money you'll save in energy costs.

Lock the Thermostat

Stop the thermostat struggle; we agree as a company on a comfortable average temperature for each season and maintain that temperature, even if you have to lock the control. We stay conscious of complaints, especially from those with hormonal or thyroid conditions that may increase sensitivity to temperature after all we are looking for energy savings, not mortal enemies. We always encourage layering, add sweater hooks to office doors or cubicle walls, ensure there's access to cool and hot water or make other small efforts to offset potential discomfort.

If you want to save energy without even having to think about it, try installing a programmable thermostat that automatically adjusts the temperature according to the time of day. Why cool or heat the office while everyone is at home? In fact, by turning a thermostat up or down 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours each day, you could save almost 10 percent a year on your heating and cooling bill. If you decide to use one of these handy gadgets, be sure to keep it well away from sources of incongruous heat or cold, such as drafty entryways or direct sunlight.

And again, be sure to regularly inspect heating and cooling systems to make sure that everything is running as efficiently as possible.

There's good and bad news about this office thermostat. The good news is that it's programmable, which is more efficient. The bad news is that everybody in the office can change the setting. So much for efficiency.

We Form a Committee Nothing gets done in our office without a couple of meetings, yes, it is right? We implement the same policy for our energy-saving campaign. We decide on priorities, draft a strategy and determine concrete goals. Employees will be more likely to get on board if our new green habits don't seem arbitrary, sudden or useless. To get even more people invested, we staff an interested committee to keep our office workers accountable for their goals -- and to take input from co-workers who may have some great ideas about how to reach those goals.