3.5 Computers and office equipment

Equipment energy usage varies enormously by type of organisation, but most will have some personal computers (PCs). If you have a network, see whether you can install polling software that will automatically switch off machines that are not in use overnight. If you have a network manager, make sure that they enable power-saving features; many computers are supplied with that facility disabled.

Office equipment should be specified to at least Energy Star standards, but these are often not very high and relate more to energy consumption when on standby rather than when in use. Ensure that equipment such as coffee machines, water coolers (do you really need these anyway?) and photocopiers run on a time clock; if they don’t have one, you can usually fit a timer plug at the mains socket.

There are far too many opportunities for relatively low-cost improvements in industrial applications to list here. However, it is worth knowing that much industrial energy is used in electric motors – not only in visible locations but also inside compressors, pumps, etc. Replacing standard motors with variable speed drives is often the first place to start. Even rewound motors will sometimes save significant levels of energy – and carbon – compared with their predecessors.