By Elizabeth Smyth
By now, most of us are all well versed in what it means to be green. We have become environmentally aware of ourselves and made more eco-friendly choices in our lifestyles. Most of these changes take place at home – where we take the time to sort our recyclables, never leave the water running while we brush our teeth, adjust the thermostat by a degree or two, and turn off the lights when no one is in the room. The benefits of being energy conscious are easily quantified by our pocketbooks every month.
But what about when we are at work? Most of us spend just as much time at the office as we do at home. Yet, we have other things on our mind – deadlines, meetings, promotions. We are not thinking about utilities and are more concerned with whether the lights are bright enough to read the fine print rather than what kind of lights were burning to help you see it.
You work hard at the office so that you can have a home that is sustainable. But what does your work place do for the environment and why should you care? Well, according to Pike Research, private commercial buildings are the largest untapped potential for energy retrofits. What’s more, building owners can expect energy savings from 10% to more than 50% with a retrofit.
But let’s face it, energy savings and greenhouse gas reductions don’t motivate everyone. In a business setting, bottom lines can easily trump good initiatives, especially in a down economy. So how do you make the case for an energy efficient retrofit?
Start with what you already know – total square feet of your office, total cost per kWh, and total annual hours of operation. Then, determine key metrics such as energy savings, cost reductions and environmental benefits. And finally, add meaning to your findings with comparative considerations of equally important environmental measures.
For instance, an office space with a total area of 10,000 square feet, using the approximate national average rate of $0.10 per kWh and producing 2080 total hours of operation annually (8 hours per day x 5 days per week x 52 weeks), would look something like this:
The savings and benefits would be considerable for your company, the planet, and you!
Elizabeth Smyth is a writer for Precision Paragon, an energy efficient commercial lighting manufacturer and leader in lighting retrofits.