In the dark

All of the marvelous technological devices we have in our offices can also add a considerable cost to the balance sheet in the form of higher utility costs.

Follow these office energy saving tips from the Energy Idea Clearinghouse in Olympia, Wash. and watch your utility bills decrease.


* Avoid using incandescent task lights (desk lamps). Ask your building manager for a compact fluorescent lamp to replace the incandescent lamp in your task light. Also replace halogen torchiere floor lamps with compact fluorescent models.

* Turn off lights when out of your office or cubicle. Also turn off lights in unused common areas such as copy rooms, break rooms, conference rooms and restrooms. The effect on lamp life and energy use when turning the lamp back on is negligible.

* Consider delamping – many ballasts may operate fewer lamps without damage.

Heating and cooling

* Sitting close to a window during the cloudy winter can make you feel cold. If so, close blinds or shades or move further from the window.

* In the winter, close blinds at the end of the day to cut down on heat loss. In the summer, close blinds during the day to avoid the heat gain of direct sunlight.

* Some large spaces may be operated cooler if you provide a spot radiant electric heater focused on the occupant. Turn the heater off when away from your work station.


* Turn off your computer monitor when you are away from your desk for more than 15 minutes. Most monitors come with power management features; talk to your staff’s computer expert about activating these features. Note that screen savers don’t save energy; complex screen savers actually increase energy use.

* Eliminate unnecessary hot plates, coffeepots, and other small appliances in your area and turn off all tools, office machines and portable appliances when not in use. If you’re the last one leaving at the end of the day, turn off the photocopiers and other office equipment.

* Less frequently used equipment with remote controls such as televisions and VCRs should be unplugged when not in use because they still use some power even when turned off.