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Office Energy Savings Tips
Silicon Valley Energy Watch logoImproving Energy Efficiency
Whether you are a small, medium or large business, learn what you can do right now to improve the energy efficiency in your business or office space and save money.

Office Equipment 
  • Turn off PCs, monitors, printers, copiers, and lights every night and when not being used. If you can't turn off the whole computer, turn off the monitor and printers.
  • When purchasing PCs, monitors, printers, fax machines, and copiers, consider ENERGY STAR models that "power down" after a period of inactivity. If appropriate, use laptop computers— they consume 90% less energy than desktop computers.
  • If appropriate, use ink-jet printers—they consume 90% less energy than laser printers.

  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs. Even though these bulbs cost more, they last up to 10 times longer! Fluorescent lamps can give the same amount of light as incandescent bulbs and use less energy to do so.
  • Consider removing excess fluorescent lights and installing reflectors.
  • Turn off nonessential and decorative lighting, especially in unoccupied areas.
  • Use task lighting to directly illuminate work areas instead of area lighting.
  • Lower the height of light fixtures to increase usable light.
  • Color code or mark light switches and circuit breakers that can be turned off when not needed.
  • Install motion detectors or dimmers to control lighting in frequently unoccupied areas, such as restrooms.
  • Install more efficient security and parking lot lighting—high pressure sodium fixtures are more efficient than metal halide, mercury vapor, fluorescent, or incandescent fixtures.
  • Install time clocks or photoelectric cells to control exterior lighting, advertising sign lighting, and some interior lighting.
  • Rewire restroom fans to operate with the lights.
  • Paint dark walls and ceiling with lighter colors to maximize the effect of existing lighting. Dark walls require more power to produce the same amount of light.
  • Maximize natural lighting by installing skylights or windows.

  • Consider replacing old HVAC systems with the new, energy-efficient systems.
  • Install time clocks or set programmable thermostats to turn off systems when the building is unoccupied to maximize efficiency.
  • Perform scheduled maintenance on units including cleaning condenser coils, replacing air filters regularly, tightening and replacing belts, and checking ducts and pipe insulation for damage.
  • Install blinds, solar screens, or shades to cool office.
  • Install reflective window film or awnings on all south- and west-facing windows.
  • Keep vents closed in unoccupied areas to prevent heating and cooling of storage areas and closets.
  • For optimal energy savings, set thermostats at 78 degrees F for cooling in the summer and 68 degrees F for heating in the winter.
  • Install ceiling and wall insulation. If your ceiling is not insulated or scantily insulated, consider increasing your insulation to up to R-38 to reduce heating costs by 5-25 percent.
  • Insulate water heaters and supply pipes.
  • Install intermittent ignition devices on gas furnaces to save gas.

  • Install weather stripping around exterior doors and operable windows, and around doors between heated and unheated or cooled and uncooled spaces.
  • Install door bottoms, threshold, or door “shoes” to seal gaps beneath exterior doors.
  • Insulate exterior walls and floors, and insulate roof or ceiling spaces to your regions standards or above wherever possible.
  • Install window treatments such as shade screens, shades, awnings, or overhangs where feasible. Consider interior window film, insulated drapes, blinds, or removable insulation material.

  • Perform scheduled maintenance on all units.
  • Keep evaporator coils clean and free of ice build-up.
  • Remove internal shelf lights to reduce refrigeration and lighting energy use.
  • Remove all, or every other, incandescent bulb over refrigerated meat displays.
  • Install auto door-closers and strip curtains on walk-in freezers and coolers, and keep doors open as little as possible during unloading and restocking.
  • Check for proper refrigerant charge monthly.

Source: Pacific Gas & Electric and Sacramento Municipal Utility District websites

This program is funded by California utility customers and administered by PG&E under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission.