Deciding to make changes in your business can seem like a daunting task. But saving energy in your business doesn't have to be complicated. If you want to save money and have a more energy efficient business, then taking small, simple steps can get you on your way.
You will need buy-in from employees if you want long-term success from these changes. Keep reading to learn five concrete reasons saving energy is essential and six ways to engage your employees in long-term energy-saving behaviours.
Help employees understand why it's important to save energy
There are two main reasons for your business to save energy: save money and to be more environmentally conscious. Natural Resources Canada has compiled an informative guide and workshops to help you incorporate an Energy-Saving Culture into your business. We'll dive a bit deeper into some reasons you can share with employees about the benefits of energy-saving efforts.
Lowers operating costs
Small businesses can save 10% to 30% of their energy costs without sacrificing service or quality with simple efficiency upgrades and behaviour changes. It's like finding a $20 bill in the pocket of your winter coat.
Increases productivity and profits
Saving energy not only saves you money directly on your energy bill but also decreases wear and tear on your equipment. When your equipment is only used as needed instead of running it all the time, it lasts longer and has less downtime for maintenance and repairs.
Attract environmentally conscious employees
Employees value a company that cares about the environment. When you show your dedication to saving energy and minimizing your environmental footprint you attract employees with similar values.
Helps meet the company's goals around having a smaller environmental footprint
Taking actionable steps towards saving energy decreases the environmental footprint of your business. Letting your customers know your efforts on social media also helps to demonstrate your commitment and that can attract more customers.
Makes the workplace more comfortable
For example, improving air circulation or temperature through energy-saving improvements can create a healthier environment for your employees. ENERGY STAR® rated LED lights can last up to twice as long compared to traditional fluorescent fixtures as well they turn on instantly, provide light that is very similar to natural daylight and are more compatible with computer screens. Having good lighting in the workplace helps to increase employee comfort.
For energy-saving ideas, sign up for an energy walk-through for your business. Not only is this service free, but it provides you with a valuable report that shows your energy use, how to increase energy efficiency, and save money.
Six ways to engage employees in energy-saving behaviours
1. Lead by example
Continue to lead the charge for your energy-saving efforts even after it seems like the new routines are established. Long-term success relies on your determination to adopt these changes permanently.
2. Allocate time and funds to energy conservation
Do you have an employee who loves learning? Consider sending them to energy-saving events and training to empower your employees to lead the energy-saving initiatives in your business. Visit SaveEnergyNB to learn more about training opportunities and encourage your employees to spend time learning the importance of energy conservation.
Set a small budget aside each month to put towards energy-saving technology, like vacancy sensors for lighting in low traffic areas.
3. Connect energy savings to lower operating costs and increasing profits
Keep track of the steps you and your employees have taken to save energy. Record the savings in the different areas. Soon, you'll see a pattern associated with your efforts to lower operating costs and increase profits.
4. Encourage employees to use equipment efficiently
Post suggestions on how to use equipment efficiently. Recognize the employees who continue to follow the new procedures, especially during busy times. Stay positive and persistent.
5. Create excitement about saving energy
Incorporate a game or competition to bring some fun into your energy saving efforts. Have a “spot the savers” challenge where employees can do a call out or have a small prize for employees who are spotted doing energy saving behaviours like turning off their computer at the end of the day or turning off the lights in the bathroom or a little used storage room.
6. Encourage employees to suggest energy conservation measures and ideas
A great way to encourage long-term employee engagement is to make them partners in the process. Ask them to come up with energy-saving tips and ideas on their own. Implement as many employee ideas as possible. Let them know their ideas have been heard and are valued.
Energy saving ideas are not just for the workplace. Many of your employees’ suggestions could help them with their own energy costs as well so, encourage them to practice those behaviours at home.
Save energy in your business together with your employees
Encourage your employees to identify times when energy waste could be occurring. Work with employees regarding setting clear goals and identifying energy efficient behaviours. Don't only tell them what you want to do, but why you want to do it. Once you know where and when you're spending the most money on energy in your business, you can find simple ways to reduce energy waste. Less waste equals lower operating costs.
Making energy-saving changes to your business doesn't have to be stressful. Record each small change you make and track the positive outcomes. Lower energy bills, longer-lasting equipment, and happier employees are a few benefits your business can experience when you decide to focus on saving energy.
Discover the ways your business can save money while helping the environment with Energy Efficiency Programs for businesses.
How do you communicate to employees the importance of saving energy?
Consistency is key. You've outlined the plan and told employees why you're making these changes. Now you need to follow through with the plan long-term.
How do you engage employees in changing behaviours to save energy?
Continue to encourage the new energy saving behaviours through positive feedback. Let them know when you notice them following the plan.
How can we save energy at work?
The smallest behaviour changes can make the biggest impact.
- Turn off the lights when you leave the room.
- Turn off/down heating and cooling systems when a space is empty.
- Power down computers monitors and other electronics.
- Invest in LED lighting and other smart technologies.
How can employees bring their energy-saving behaviours home?
The best part is that many energy-saving behaviours at work directly transfer to saving energy at home. Suppose your employees can bring behaviours like turning off lights and knowledge about energy-saving products to their homes. It can make a significant impact on their own energy costs.