The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is a great resource on a variety of issues that impact all types of businesses throughout the year. Recently, the SBA offered a few simple tips on using typical office equipment that can positively impact monthly utility bills and a company’s bottom line.
- Always buy ENERGY STAR qualified products for your small business. The ENERGY STAR mark only appears on the most efficient computers, printers, copiers, refrigerators, televisions, windows, thermostats, ceiling fans, and other appliances and equipment.
- Turning off machines when they are not in use can result in significant energy savings. There is a common misconception that screen savers reduce energy use by monitors; they do not. Automatic switching to sleep mode or manually turning monitors off is always the better energy-saving strategy.
- To maximize savings with a laptop, put the AC adapter on a power strip that can be turned off (or will turn off automatically); the transformer in the AC adapter draws power continuously, even when the laptop is not plugged into the adapter.
- Common misconceptions sometimes account for the failure to turn off equipment. Many people believe that equipment lasts longer if it is never turned off. This incorrect perception carries over from the days of older mainframe computers.
- Consider buying a laptop for your next computer upgrade; they use much less energy than desktop computers, resulting in long-term savings.
- Many appliances continue to draw a small amount of power when they are switched off. These “phantom” loads occur in most appliances that use electricity, such as VCRs, televisions, stereos, computers, and kitchen appliances. In the average home or small business, 75 percent of the electricity used to power electronics is consumed while the products are turned off. This can be avoided by unplugging the appliance, or using a power strip and the strip’s on/off switch to cut all power to the appliance.
- Unplug battery chargers when the batteries are fully charged or the chargers are not in use.
- Studies have shown that using rechargeable batteries for products like cordless phones and PDAs is more cost effective than throwaway batteries. If you must use throwaways, check with your trash removal company about safe disposal options.