As a small business owner, energy is more than likely a large part of your monthly spending. Luckily, it’s one that you can (somewhat) control. You know how important it is to protect your budget and cut costs where necessary. You may implement changes that can help reduce energy usage, but your employees have to back them up in order to be successful.
Here are a few ways you can encourage your employees to save energy:
Make a Plan
If your staff isn’t aware there’s an issue (or initiative), they won’t be able to act on it. Review your current energy statements and look for ways to improve. Once you’ve set an attainable goal, lay out a plan with clear steps of action. Answer questions like:
- What is the objective (what are we trying to do)?
- Why is this important?
- How can we do it (what are the specific actions)?
- What is the end goal?
- How does this affect me (the employee)?
Here’s a short example: We want to reduce our energy consumption by 10% by the end of the fiscal year. Not only does this reduce our carbon footprint as a company, but it helps protect our bottom line. One of our largest recurring costs as a business is energy. When we reduce our usage, we reduce costs, which means more money gets put back into the company. This allows us to focus more resources on raises and/or bonuses, better equipment/technology, educational programs, and more. Here are a few easy things you can do that will help us reach our goal:
- Power down equipment when not in use.
- Turn off lights in areas that are not in use.
- Unplug chargers and/or computers at the end of the day.
Your employees may not know the extent that their actions contribute to energy consumption. Do they know what phantom loads are, and how to reduce them? Do they know that when equipment is in standby mode, it’s still using energy? Do they know how much energy is used when adjusting the thermostat? Much energy knowledge is not common sense and needs to be learned.
Find easy-to-comprehend resources (like our blogs!) and pass them along to employees. ENERGY STAR also has some great resources, like this Employee Education Kit.
Getting your team to back an initiative can be difficult. Simply setting rules without any regard for them can come off as disingenuous. Instead, consider offering rewards or incentives. For example, spend an afternoon breaking employees into groups and task them with coming up with new and creative ways to save energy. You could also give rewards once your energy goal is met—like gift cards or a catered lunch. There are countless ways to reward employees for their efforts—check out Indeed’s article here for more examples!
Show How Easy It Is
When asking your employees to support your energy-saving initiative, emphasize how simple it is. Most of these energy-saving tips take no more than a minute of their day, but small changes make a big difference! Here’s a list* you can share with employees:
- During cold weather, leave blinds open during daylight hours.
- During warm weather, close blinds during daylight hours.
- Make sure vents are free of blockages (paper, furniture, etc.) so air can circulate freely.
- Don’t adjust the thermostat without permission.
- Unplug phone or computer chargers when not in use.
- Unplug equipment or appliances (printers, computers, toaster ovens, etc.) at the end of the day.
- Replace desk lamps with LED lightbulbs.
- Turn off lights when leaving a workspace, especially at the end of the day.
- Keep exterior doors and windows closed when the heat/air conditioning is on.
*Depending on your building/equipment, not all tips will be relevant to your business. Feel free to customize as needed.
Find more tips specific to your business type in our Energy Guides for Business Owners.
For more information about encouraging employees to save energy, contact the experts at UGI EnergyLink today!