How to automate your office to save energy
  • Category:
    Small Business Energy Savings
  • Published:
    May 3, 2021

How to Automate Your Office to Save Energy

It can be expensive to keep your small business up and running. From equipment maintenance and repairs to lighting the premises, the costs associated with operating a workplace can quickly add up. That’s why it helps to look for ways to trim expenses wherever possible. And a great place to start is by automating your office to save energy.

By determining how much energy your office is using —and where — you can see how automation could benefit you most. As we’ll see, smart offices are energy-efficient offices.

What uses the most electricity in an office?

The answer to this question may differ slightly depending on what kind of small business you run and where it’s located. That said, what uses the most electricity in an office can generally be narrowed down to a few particular devices, appliances and pieces of equipment:

What uses the most electricity in an office?

  1. HVAC systems. Heating and cooling tend to be the largest energy expenses for offices and other commercial buildings, accounting for more than 40% of total energy usage in some geographic locations.
  2. Lighting fixtures. Lighting is another major contributor when it comes to your small business’s energy consumption. On average, office buildings in the U.S. will use about 35% of their overall energy on indoor and outdoor lighting.
  3. Computers, monitors and other electronics. Computers, monitors and other electronics that get plugged into outlets are referred to as “plug load” devices. These devices make up approximately 5% of energy consumption in U.S. offices and commercial buildings.
  4. Food service equipment. Refrigerators, freezers and other food service equipment will also have an impact on your office’s electricity expenses. For example, running one vending machine for a year can add an extra $301 to your annual energy costs.
  5. Security systems. Security cameras are almost always running and using electricity. And if your system is complete with a network video recorder (NVR), your energy consumption — and costs — will be even higher. For example, one security camera with a NVR can cost nearly $50 to run for a year.

Ways to automate your office building to save energy

Knowing what uses the most electricity in your office is important, but what really counts is how you reduce the consumption of these devices and appliances. Below, we outline some tips to help you automate your office to save energy, covering everything from your HVAC system to your electronics.

Automate your office’s heating and cooling system

Since heating and cooling are likely the biggest energy consumers in your office, this is a great place to start when it comes to automation. Smart thermostats are helpful tools for automation, allowing you to set daily temperature schedules, as well as adjust your office’s temperature remotely through an internet-connected device. This added control makes it easier to conserve energy in a fast-paced office environment.

If you use space heaters and/or air conditioners to help manage the temperature in your office, you can also save energy by switching to more efficient models. It may take some research upfront, but buying energy-efficient appliances for your office can help reduce your energy expenses in the long run.

Automate the lighting in your office

By using smart small-business technology, you can easily monitor and control the lighting in your office and improve energy efficiency. For example, smart light bulbs can be preset to turn on and off at certain times of day and can also be controlled from anywhere via a smartphone or other connected device. Additionally, smart lights generally utilize LED or CFL bulbs, which have a longer lifespan and consume less energy than traditional bulbs.

Some other ideas for lighting automation include using motion detectors to automatically turn off lights in empty rooms, as well as upgrading to energy-efficient outdoor lighting for your business.

Automating office lighting with smart bulbs

Automate computers and other office equipment

Automating computers, monitors, printers and other electronic devices is an effective way to curb your office’s energy usage. With some research, you can find the best energy-efficient office equipment for your needs and take advantage of energy-saving features, such as sleep mode and automatic shutdown mode. This will help ensure that your energy consumption rates stay as low as possible throughout the workday.

You can also use smart plugs to improve the efficiency of your office equipment. Just insert your smart plug into a wall socket and then plug your computer, copier or other electronic device into it. You’ll then be able to manage the device from anywhere and even create schedules for when it should power on and off.

Automate your office’s break room appliances

From ditching energy-hungry vending machines to purchasing high-efficiency refrigerators, there are several different things you can do to save energy in the break room. For example, installing low-flow faucets and toilets in your employee restrooms is an effective way to reduce energy usage and overall operating expenses. Plus, when you automate your break room appliances, you create the opportunity to get your employees engaged in energy-saving practices.

The benefits of automation in the office

Once you begin automating your office, it won’t take long for your investments to start paying off. That’s because you’ll see the benefits in your workplace right from the beginning. For example, office automation can help you:

  • Improve your energy efficiency. Automation gives you greater control over how and when your energy-consuming devices and appliances run, in turn helping you limit your small-business energy consumption.
  • Increase productivity. As you automate your office, you’ll likely find that the new systems and devices you introduce increase your capability and overall productivity.
  • Pinpoint waste. Many smart devices and appliances provide insights and data about your energy usage, which is why automation makes it easier to determine where your office is wasting energy and resources.

Small-business owners understand how important it is to keep operating costs in check. Automating your office with smart technology can help you do just that. Not only are smart offices energy efficient, but they also help to lower your small business’s electricity bill. With all the smart office technology available on the market, it only makes sense to let that technology start working for you.

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