With more news reports reminding us of our duty to protect the environment, there is much we can do to save energy and reduce the utility budget, whether it’s in your own home or where you work. Some things you can do on your own, while some may be required by the employer, and others still can be undertaken by employees as opportunities arise. Here are a few tips for getting started.

Replace Indoor Lighting

Fluorescent bulbs are still widely used in many older office buildings, warehouses, and factories. However, LED lighting is growing in popularity despite its higher cost to purchase. Operating costs are cheaper, though. Using an 8 ft LED tube, for example, is 30 percent more efficient than other types of lighting. Another plus is that LED lights contain no mercury, nor does it release UV rays that can cause furniture and carpets to fade.

Check the bulbs in your own home as well. Consider swapping lamps and overhead lights for bulbs with energy-saving ratings. Energy.gov has recommendations for the types of bulbs you can use safely and efficiently in your home.

Turn Off Unused Equipment

Switch off lights and equipment that are not being used. Computers or other technology like printers can be set to hibernate mode if they are only randomly used. Room lighting can be adjusted to a dim setting for certain types of equipment use, like projectors or monitors. Any type of appliance, equipment, or technology that is not in frequent use can be turned off or set in hibernation mode to reduce energy use. Some rooms may need to use only partial lighting instead of having all the lights on, all the time. This goes for both your workspace and your living space.

Lower the Thermostat

During the winter, if the building is generally insulated without drafty air, try setting the thermometer to 68 or 70 degrees. Encourage employees to bring sweaters in case they become chilled. In the summer, adjust the thermostat upward to 75 degrees if that is adequately comfortable for the workspaces. Even a few degrees lower in winter or higher in summer months can save energy and lower the heating and cooling bills.

Seal Windows and Doors

Inspect the exterior doors and windows for signs of damage that is letting indoor air escape while allowing outdoor air inside, which can play havoc with your HVAC system and increase utility bills. Have any cracks or leaks repaired, along with deteriorated or loosened weatherstrip material. This step alone can have a significant impact on maintaining the desired indoor temperatures year-round.

Saving energy doesn’t require a major investment of time, money, or effort. Each person who contributes even in small ways can help to reduce energy use at home or at work, which benefits your finances and the environment.

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