Money-saving ideas for businesses

The 5 Energy-Efficient Practices Your Employees Should Do Daily

By Megan Porter

Money-saving ideas don't need to come in the shape of large-scale sustainability measures to make a real difference. In fact, these five daily business energy efficient tactics are all you need to affect the bottom line. What's more, these sustainability measures are easy for employees to do – introduce them as standard practices and post helpful reminders in the form of these Employee Energy Efficiency Awareness posters.

Money-Saving Idea #1: Adopt a light, appliance or outlet
Assign employee sustainability responsibilities to personnel occupying specific areas to turn off all nonessential indoor/outdoor lighting and appliances, and unplug energy-draining devices at the end of every day. Remind employees that they are responsible for their own personal workspace lighting, and assign common areas like breakrooms and conference areas to specific workers to check periodically. Don't forget signage and window displays, and decorative features such as fountains, lighting, ambient audio and video displays. Outlet monitoring as part of this sustainability practice includes unplugging energy-draining devices like cell phone chargers. The average charger consumes 0.26 watts of energy when not in use, and 2.24 watts even when a fully charged device is connected to it. These devices can add up to 10% or more to your monthly utility bill.1

Money-Saving Idea #2: Clear blocked vents
Sometimes employees move office furniture around to accommodate work needs like group meetings, but if this results in blocked vents, it's a sure-fire way to hike up the bill. This is because blocked vents require 25% more energy to distribute air.2 Remind employees that vents cannot be blocked and assign a worker to be responsible for ensuring vents are clear at the end of each day. Remember to include inspection of any floor vents in addition to wall vents in employee sustainability checks. Also, don't keep vents closed as a sustainability measure; doing so can cause an imbalance to the operation of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system and make it work harder.3

Money-Saving Idea #3: Close blinds
Natural lighting is great during the day, but employee sustainability practices should include closing curtains, shades and blinds in workspaces at night, unoccupied periods of the day and weekends to lower heating and cooling costs. As with lighting, don't forget to assign employees to cover conference rooms that often have large windows with opportunities for maximum savings or losses. Highly reflective blinds can reduce heat gain by around 45% when completely closed and lowered on a sunny window.4

Money-Saving Idea #4: Power down equipment
Turn off all office equipment every night and weekend, and assign responsibilities for common space monitors and printers in conference rooms and file rooms. Even with sleep settings, it's common to have programs that prevent low power settings from taking effect. Though there is a small surge in energy when a computer starts up, this small amount of energy is still less than the energy used when a computer is running for long periods of time. For energy efficient savings and convenience, consider the following guidelines:

  • Turn off the monitor if it won't be used for more than 20 minutes.
  • Turn off both the CPU and monitor if the computer won't be used for more than two hours.5

Money-Saving Idea #5: Set thermostats for savings
The thermostat is a constant source of tension and debate when left up to employees. Eliminate this with an energy-savings decision to set thermostats at 78°F for cooling in the summer and 68°F for heating in the winter.6 Employee sustainability measures include lowering the thermostat in non-work hours during winter and raising it during non-work summer hours. By turning the thermostat back 10° to 15° for eight hours, you can save 5% to 15% a year on your heating bill—a savings of as much as 1% for each degree.7

Looking to learn about more opportunities to reduce costs and energy consumption? Download the eBook "25 Money-Saving Tips for Businesses" and learn about low- and high-impact solutions.


  1. U.S. Department of Energy
  4. U.S. Department of Energy
  5. U.S. Department of Energy
  6. Pacific Gas and Electric Company
  7. U.S. Department of Energy

5 Energy Efficient Practices Your Employees Should Do Daily
  • SMB Blog Author
    Megan Porter
    Senior Program Marketing Manager at PG&E, is a recognized leader in solutions marketing for small and medium-sized businesses. Megan uses her proven and practical expertise to bring energy efficiency education to businesses in every industry. In this vital role, she develops and oversees highly successful initiatives that result in the adoption of more efficient long-term energy management behaviors.

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