How to save energy at work 

2023 was the warmest year ever as records were broken for greenhouse gas levels, sea surface temperatures and sea level rises. At the same time droughts, floods and wildfires impacted billions of people around the world. 

As a result, the case for transforming how we generate, and use energy has never been stronger, as energy accounts for 73% of all greenhouse gas emissions. That’s 36 billion tonnes of carbon being pumped into the atmosphere every year from the burning of oil, gas and coal. 

The IEA believes that energy efficiency is one of the 4 biggest changes we can make to dramatically cut emissions by 2030 alongside renewables, electrification and cutting methane.  

Energy use accounts for 73% of all greenhouse gas emissions. That’s 36 billion tonnes of carbon being pumped into the atmosphere every year from the burning of oil, gas and coal.

The positive news is that many companies, and employees, understand the importance of making a change and have started to look for ways to reduce energy consumption at work:  

Savings vs efficiency. What’s the difference? 

There are two main ways to cutting energy use: energy saving and energy efficiency 

  • Energy saving focuses on immediate reductions in total energy use through behaviour changes. 
  • Energy efficiency focuses on using less energy to achieve the same outcome through more efficient technologies and practices. 

Both energy saving and energy efficiency are crucial for reducing our environmental impact and lowering energy costs. 

What role can an individual employee play in saving energy? 

We all have an opportunity to cut energy use at work. Here are some tips and examples of how to do that as an employee: 

Build your knowledge 

Read about how to save energy at work. Understanding “why” we need to save energy as well as the many different ways you can do it by cutting back or being more efficient is an important motivator to change. With much of our energy being created by burning fossil fuels, every saving helps cut carbon emissions as well as costs.  

Build new habits for everyday actions 

Everyday there are small actions you can take to save energy. Build habits to do as many of them as possible and talk to colleagues so they join you to scale the impact of your actions. Here are some examples. 

  • Take the stairs. Taking the stairs is a simple and effective way to reduce carbon emissions and improve your health. It might even save some time too. You are also boosting your physical activity. You’ll avoid the hassle of waiting around, especially during peak hours, and maybe getting to your destination faster. Start with a week of taking the stairs to build a sustainable habit. Although it’s easier to walk down the stairs, you save more energy by walking up! 
  • Make sure devices are off when not in use. Electrical items in the office such as laptops, computers, printers and screens use power all the time. They use the most if they are turned on but not in use (e.g. screens left on in meeting rooms, computer screens that don’t go into sleep mode quickly) but also use some power when left on standby. Turn electrical items off to save energy, cut carbon emissions and save cost for your company. Start with a week of turning everything off to build a habit. 
  • Turn the lights off at work. Try to get into a habit of turning the lights off when they are not needed. Turning lights off in empty rooms is a simple and easy way to save energy, reduce electricity bills and carbon emissions. Start with a week and build your habit from there. Don’t forget about meeting rooms which is a common area where lights are turned on. You might need to contact your facilities team to help make it easy for everyone. 
  • Only boil the water you need at work. A kettle can use 2000 Watts of power when it’s on which is more than your TV, laptop and fridge put together. Every extra cup you boil in the kettle adds an additional 45 seconds too. This is a very small step but helps shift mindsets about how we need to be more energy efficient whenever we can. Start with a week to build a new habit. 
A kettle can use 2000 Watts of power when it’s on which is more than your TV, laptop and fridge put together.

Create an energy saving at work checklist  

To reduce emissions there are lots of things you can do including turning off lights and devices, using blinds to keep heat in or out, only boiling the water you need for drinks, promoting energy saving in the workplace and coming up with ideas to be more energy efficient. Every day at work offers an opportunity for saving costs for your company as well as cutting carbon.  

Share your ideas to shape the future  

Companies usually need help bridging the gap between where they want to get to and the actions and motivations of employees to get them there. Help out by generating practical solutions for cutting energy use. Here are a few ways to get ideas flowing. 

  • Build a green innovation wall for your team. A green innovation wall is a visual and interactive way to showcase and generate ideas that can improve the environmental performance of your team. It can help you to create a culture of collaborative innovation, where everyone can contribute to solving sustainability challenges and creating positive impact. Build a green innovation wall at work, which can be physical or digital, to generate and shares ideas to be more sustainable. Then share it with colleagues so the ideas can start flowing. 
  • Run an energy saving “start, stop, continue” session with your team. A start, stop, continue session is a feedback tool that helps you and your team improve your performance and collaboration by generating three lists: what to start doing, what to stop doing, and what to continue doing.  

Whilst individuals and companies are different, we share the same climate goals. Don’t let the fact that you cannot do everything stop you from doing something and we hope this article has provided you with new ideas to do something new today!  

If you have been inspired to take some steps to reduce energy usage, then you can sign up to Giki Zero to find more steps and discover your carbon footprint. Or get in touch to talk about how we can help engage your colleagues on cutting energy at work.