Your Green Office: Energy-Saving Tips for Small Businesses

green office

Unless you enjoy working by candlelight on a manual typewriter, the power bill is a necessary evil for your small business. It’s also one of the last areas business owners consider when it comes to reducing expenses—but it should be at the top of the list.

There are plenty of ways you can save big on your energy costs, while helping the environment at the same time. From small changes in your habits to investments that pay for themselves, here are some great energy-saving tips for your business.

Your Green Office

Let There Be Light (Sometimes)

It’s easy to overlook the lights in your business. You turn them on when it’s dark, or simply out of habit at the beginning of the day and (hopefully) turn them off when you leave. But if you make a conscious effort to control excessive light use, you can save quite a bit on your energy bill. Here’s how.

Inexpensive and Free:

  • Turn off lights in any room that isn’t in use—and remind employees to do the same.
  • Use “free” light by opening curtains and blinds whenever the sun is shining, and turning off the bulbs.
  • Be aware of over-lighting. Just as insufficient light causes problems, too much light can lead to glare, eye strain and headaches.
  • Replace incandescent (standard) light bulbs with energy-saving compact florescent lamps (CFLs), which not only use less energy, but also last 10 times longer before burning out.

Energy-Saving Lighting Investments:

  • Replace lighting fixtures with newer, energy-efficient models.
  • If you have exit signs in your business, upgrade to Energy Star qualified LED signs.
  • Install occupancy sensors in bathrooms, conference rooms, and other areas that aren’t used continually to automatically turn lights on when people enter, and off when they leave.
  • Use photocells or timers to control outdoor lighting.

Warm-Ups and Cool-Downs

When you’re dealing with Mother Nature’s mood swings all year, you need a way to control the temperature inside your business. Heating and air conditioning often represent the biggest chunk of money on your electric bill, but there are ways to reduce the burden and still keep things comfortable inside. Here’s how.

Heating Tips:

  • Keep curtains and blinds open at windows that face the sun when it’s cold. This contributes solar heat to your interior, and reduces the operating burden on your heating system.
  • In the winter, use fans to pull warmer air down from the ceilings.
  • Lower the thermostat when you leave for the day. A drop of just 5 degrees for 8 hours or more can save up to 10 percent of your heating costs.
  • Get a bi-annual “tune-up” for your HVAC (heating, ventilating and air-conditioning) system, at the beginning of heating and cooling season.

Cooling Tips:

  • Close curtains and blinds, or use solar screens or solar film, to block direct sunlight from entering your building on warm days.
  • Use fans to keep things cooler and reduce or delay the use of air conditioning.
  • Keep external doors closed when your A/C is in use.

Things That Plug In

Computers, equipment, and appliances seem to run on money instead of power. Fortunately, this is also one of the biggest areas you can save energy costs in. Here’s how.

Plug-In Tips:

  • When computers are not in use, set them to kick over to sleep mode, or turn off the monitors manually. Screen savers do not actually reduce a monitor’s energy use.
  • Unplug computers, laptops, and other office equipment at the end of the day, or use power strips and turn them off. Electronics continue to draw power as long as they’re plugged in, even when they’re off.
  • Battery chargers also continually draw power when they’re plugged in, so unplug them when batteries are fully charged, or when they’re not in use.
  • Whenever possible, replace electronic equipment and office appliances with Energy Star qualified products for maximum energy efficiency.

How do you conserve energy in your small business?

Green Office Concept Photo via Shutterstock

15 Comments ▼

Megan Totka


Megan Totka Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for Chamber of Commerce. Chamber specializes in helping SMB's grow their business on the Web while facilitating the connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide. Megan specializes in reporting the latest business news, helpful tips and reliable resources and provides advice through her column on the Chamber blog.

15 Reactions

  1. Lot of good advice contained in this article. Although I would look to extend your use of LED lights outside of just in use of exit signs. CFL’s, in my opinion, are a transitory technology and are inferior to a solid, energy-star rated LED option
    I have purchased LED’s for a couple year now for the holidays on Christmas Lights, Etc. I am curious to see when the global consumer begins a widespread adoption of this technology for bulbs that will be used year round.

    • I appreciate the input, Brian! Great idea on the LEDs. It will be interesting to see how that develops. Thanks for reading.

  2. Great tips! I also think one of the best ways is to just turn off your computer at the end of the day.

  3. Wish I had visited here earlier! We at Moxilla have a nice “green” technology which pays for itself in a single year with the savings acheived in managing IT based assets in a business. That means all of the computers and servers. Literally, it saves a company with 10, 000 PCs upwards of $1,000,000.00 in energy consumption annually while enabling IT with zero hour rollouts and eliminating user disgust with turning on off and watching 15 steps of Microsoft updates on their computers.

  4. Great energy saving tips for small businesses.
    Things that we don’t consider doing it but these tips actually count a lot, and will help to save a lot on energy bills.

  5. Hi Megan,
    Great article, I really like your writing style, was a pleasure to read.

    I’d like to offer you a tip that I often recommend to my clients:

    If possible, always opt for laptops as your business computers rather than desktops. They consume much less power and you have the added benefit of built-in battery backup in the event of a power failure. Plus with a docking station and external monitor/s they perform just as well as a desktop for most business tasks. To go one better, get laptops with solid state drives (not spinning hard-drive types) as you most likely won’t need too much storage when most businesses normally have a centralised server on their domain with large, shared storage capacity. I look forward to checking in on your blogs more often :-)

  6. Energy saving should be the criteria for not only small business but even for bigger ones too. Through energy saving tactics we can save excess expenditure of hard earned money, also making our employees aware of these tips should be good enough to arouse a feeling of saving & keeping a check from time to time further helps to know the exact scenario.

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