- Work out what to do
- Explain your plan
- Set up an action plan
- Put your plan into action
- Embed your plan in your workplace
Calculate your current usage and set realistic targets for the next six months. Setting targets to reduce the elements you are measuring will ensure you are making progress on your journey.
Reduce the impact of energy costs with smart meters and management systems.
1) Involve your team in the process from the beginning
You can increase the chance of real change if your employees understand why you are trying to save energy. It can also reduce the need for continuous input from leadership.
2) Decide when and how to state your case
Explain the benefits of energy saving in an informal meeting at an appropriate time. Benefits include:
- a healthier environment – more natural light and better air quality will enhance physical and mental wellbeing
- a new dynamic teamwork – a chance to influence and inspire others to step up to net zero
- professional development opportunities
3) Promote your goals in realistic, relatable, and manageable terms
Highlight what your business is already doing well in terms of sustainability. Avoid preaching or criticism.
Decide how you will talk about progress and updates.
Develop an action plan by:
- setting up meetings where everyone can come up with ideas – some employees might be able to share their good energy saving practices
- asking staff to review their own workstation or practices
- appointing a green champion – an enthusiastic employee to motivate your team
- setting up surveys, competitions or team projects, such as setting targets to reduce energy consumption
- setting up a working group to share responsibility for setting goals and reporting back
Use simple cost-saving actions, including the following:
1) Switching off equipment
This will save you money and increase its lifetime as you won’t need to replace it as often. You could:
- set up an employee rota for the last to leave to check equipment is switched off, including printers, copiers, vending machines and coffee machines and any equipment
- turn off computer monitors off if they are away from their desks for more than 10 minutes
- turn off both PCs and monitors at the plug at the end of the day
- make sure that infrequently used printers and photocopiers are turned on only when required
- set computers and other devices to sleep when not in use – short energy breaks can cut energy use by up to 70%
2) Heating and cooling
Encourage your staff to help reduce your business’s energy bills by:
- set heat lower – you can lower your monthly heating bill up to 8% for every 1°C you reduce
- set your air conditioning to the highest comfortable temperature – every degree of extra cooling may cost you 5-10% more
- encourage staff to layer up or dress cool in warmer weather
- keep doors and windows closed when the air-conditioning is on
Take steps to optimise your natural light and reduce energy from lighting systems. You could:
- maximise the use of daylight and hold off switching on lights until absolutely necessary
- position your furniture, so it makes the most of natural light
- optimise the brightness of their monitors; the brighter they are the more energy they use and this can cause eye strain
Set up an office waste management and recycling system and back it up with a policy you share with your employees. Hold a meeting to make sure staff are on board with reducing waste.
To help reduce waste and recycle more, you could:
- label bins so employees are clear on what goes into the recycling bin and what goes into general rubbish
- establish a food waste bin
- go single-use plastic free in the office
- bring reusable food and drink containers
- go paperless or use recycled paper
- print on both sides of paper
- print as drafts
- remove bins from under desks to encourage recycling
- share office supplies
5) Reducing the impact of transport
Encourage your staff to switch their mode of transport, for example, by cycling or walking to work, car-pooling or using public transport.
Make sustainability part of your workplace culture. Steps you could take include:
- drawing up an energy-saving checklist that puts sustainability at the forefront of operations and policy
- giving regular updates on how your energy-saving strategy is going via email or another communication channel
- rewarding employees who are demonstrating their commitment to sustainability
- including energy saving responsibilities in job descriptions
- making sustainability a key agenda item for the leadership team and part of every meeting.
- creating marketing materials such as reminders and promotional materials to raise awareness
Specialist training is available which can help you reduce your carbon emissions and operate in a more efficient way.
Climate Fit is a free online training course to help SMEs reduce their carbon emissions and join the collective race to net zero.