Simple ways to reduce your electricity, gas and water usage when starting out on your green journey
When you are starting out on your green journey it can be difficult to decide where to start and what to do first to reduce your energy use within your business. The whole idea can feel a little overwhelming and you may feel the pressure to make big differences straight away especially as we are now seeing the true effects of climate change and increasing energy bills. It can also be difficult to know how to take your organisation on the journey with you, not to mention understanding the time and financial implications.
The journey so far
Hunt & Coombs Solicitors has been advocating tackling environmental issues for more than 10 years, having developed our environment policy back in 2006 and receiving its first iiE Award in 2011. In 2012 we achieved Green accreditation and we were the first legal firm to achieve this. Then in 2014 we were awarded the Great Green Star Award, and in 2019 it was topped off by achieving the iiE Overall Achiever Award. Over the years we have developed many ways to reduce our usage of electricity, gas, water and we continue to look at our responses to the issues creatively. Many of the most effective changes we have made have been simple and introduced over time to become enmeshed in the day to day routines of the business and staff.
Getting started as a newcomer
The good news is, you don’t have to start big. There are many simple changes that can be made relatively quickly, many of which can also be adopted by staff at home. A lot of small changes will add up to make a big difference!
More recently we have been going back to basics and using the advice given in this article to start exploring ways to reduce our energy usage. Through area targeted monitoring of temperatures we have identified warm and cold areas of the office helping to reduce heating temperature by two degrees. In the colder areas of the office, efficient 500w electric heaters are being provided and throughout the office furniture has been moved away from radiators to help the heating run more efficient. This has helped us achieve a reduction in our gas usage of 100kwh units, comparing October 2021 with October 2022. Simple methods have helped us identify areas where we can make changes, reduce consumption and make a difference.
Our advice is to start positively but with simple changes that everyone can embrace. Small steps add up to big leaps forward!
Here are a few of the small and simple changes that we have taken can be made both in the office and at home to help reduce energy usage and help you get started on your green journey.
How to get started
Electricity and Gas
- Firstly do an audit of everything in the office that is electrical and plugged in and decide if it is still being used or needed. If it is not needed simply unplug it all together.
- Turn off lights whenever you leave an office or a meeting room. Do not turn them on at all if the sun is shining and where possible change to LED bulbs.
- Switch off your computer and monitors when you log off at lunchtime and when you leave for the night and try not to leave computer equipment on standby, leaving computer equipment on standby uses electricity (vampire power) and when you multiply the number of computers and monitors in just one office this can add up to a lot of wasted electricity usage.
- Open windows when it is hot rather than using air conditioners. Only use air conditioners when you really have to and never with the windows open at the same time.
- Wear an extra jumper if you are cold.
- Reduce the temperature of thermostats by 1 or 2 degrees. Whilst this will not make a dramatic difference to your level of comfort, it will make a dramatic difference to your energy usage and heating costs will go down. Likewise reduce the temperature of the hot water.
- Reduce the amount of water used in the kettle when making a drink (especially if it is just for one cup) or provide thermos jugs so that a single boil can make many cups of tea or coffee.
- Reduce the number of lights on in the office by turning some off where there is no impact on the light required.
- Make sure taps are being turned off after use.
- Fit water saving devices to toilets to help reduce the amount of water being used.
- Get leaks fixed quickly.
- Use appliances on eco-settings to reduce the amount of water and electricity being used.
Other areas for review and changes to make
- Check for draughts in windows and doors and replace, fix or seal where possible. Make this an ongoing process so that problems are picked up early.
- Where possible keep radiators clear of desks and furniture to obtain the best heating efficiency.
- Check to see if you have loft insulation, although there is a cost involved it can be a quick simple way to reduce heat loss and wasting electricity and gas in the winter months.
This article was contributed by Jason Mendrik, Marketing Executive at Hunt & Coombs Solicitors who are sponsoring the ‘Best Newcomer’ award at the iiE Awards 2022.
Hunt & Coombs Solicitors is an established law firm offering a full range of company and personal legal services.
For further information on our legal services please contact a member of the team on 01733 882800, email [email protected] or visit our website at www.hcsolicitors.co.uk.