Appliances and devices integral to every organization may be draining energy and raising bills. This is what you can do to nip the problem in the bud.
A word of warning
This Halloween season, be on the lookout for the bane of sustainable and financial efficiency: energy vampires. These fiendish phantoms are likely present in every organization, from cubicles to the storage room, constantly draining energy and increasing costs.
But how can you tell that these ghouls lurk on your premises? The first sign is that you may notice that your energy bills are higher than you would expect.
What is an energy vampire?
Energy vampires are innocuous, everyday items that rarely warrant a second glance. They contribute to the smooth running of an organization and make up the spaces we inhabit.
However, these appliances and devices, even when not in use, continue to drain energy as they remain plugged in or switched on. Necessities of the office environment, such as computers, scanners, printers, and the all-important coffee maker, are often on standby and are kept on through the night and even over the weekend when the office may be empty. Personal items like mini-fridges, found in offices and student dormitories alike, add to the constant energy drain.
Other draining devices include routers and thermostats. Though they may seem small, their collective impact adds up.
How to protect yourself and your business from energy vampires
No need for garlic or silver. The simplest way to guard against the drain of energy vampires is to switch off, unplug, or use energy saving mode if applicable. At the end of the work day, ensure that all appliances are either unplugged or switched off. This can include communal microwaves, coffee makers, dishwashers, etc. Over the weekend, and over longer periods of disuse such as holiday breaks, take it a step further and make sure that appliances like office refrigerators are also unplugged. Lowering the temperature on the thermostat in colder months is another method to reduce energy consumption.
Smart power strips and thermostats are additional measures to protect against these office phantoms. Smart power strips not only allow you to group appliances and devices together, but they can also disable items that are in standby mode.
What else you can do to reduce energy consumption
Don’t be fooled: while reducing the energy consumption of unused devices and appliances can help you and your organization save a little each month, adopting more sustainable practices, such as switching to eco-friendly alternatives (e.g. LED lighting and energy efficient appliances), will provide more significant savings at a lesser detriment to the environment. To truly help the planet (and lower costs at the same time) sustainability and energy efficiency should be incorporated into every facet of a business.
“Eliminate Vampire Power.” Sustainability at Harvard, 4 Nov. 2013, green.harvard.edu/tools-resources/green-tip/eliminate-vampire-power.
O’Doherty, Caroline. “How “Vampire Devices” Are Adding to Your Energy Bills Scare.” Independent, 9 May 2022, www.independent.ie/irish-news/how-vampire-devices-are-adding-to-your-energy-bills-scare-41629335.html.