10 easy ways a sustainable state employee could save $100 per year
Turn off lights at night and on weekends.
One 40-watt fluorescent tube turned off at nights and on weekends (5,628 hours per year), saves more than 225 kilowatt hours (kWh.) At a conservative off-peak rate of three cents a kWh, you can save $6.75 per year. It only takes turning off 15 40-watt tubes on nights and weekends to save $100 a year.
Fix or report water leaks and drips.
One drip per second equals 2,100 gallons of water per year. Based on the city of Raleigh’s distribution rate of $1.96 per 748 gallons, saving 2,100 gallons per year saves $5.50 per year. Saving 18 drips per minute or one drip every three seconds, can save more than $100 per year. The average drip size according to United States Geological Survey, or USGS, is 0.25 ml or one liter = 4,000 drips (see the USGS drip calculator at http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/sc4.html).
Reduce unnecessary printing and print on both sides of the paper.
Copier paper can cost more than $38 a case (5,000 sheets). Some copier/printer contracts charge from three to seven cents a page. Each case of paper saved would equal $188 per year.
Office space heaters have been banned from state buildings.
Office space heaters typically use between one to three kilowatts per hour of electricity, depending on the type or brand. During an eight hour work day, a space heater can cost $1.92 in electricity, using an average eight cents per kWh. If a heater is used for an average of 100 days a year, it could cost as much as $192 per year.
Increase or decrease the thermostat setting by one degree.
Saving one degree on the thermostat setting - one degree up in the summer or down in the winter - can save an average of three to five percent on heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC). (See Progress Energy’s energy savings tips for more ideas at http://progress-energy.com/custservice/carres/energytips).
Turn off the computer at the end of the work day.
Most desk top computers use 65 to 250 watts of electricity per day and most laptops use about 15 to 60 watts. A desktop computer left on 24 hours a day, with no sleep mode or energy saving settings, costs as much as $172 a year and laptops cost up to $42 a year, using an average of eight cents per kWh. Turning a computer off at the end of an eight hour work day can bring the cost down to around $38 a year for desk tops and $9 for laptops. Using sleep mode or energy saver settings during the work day adds to further savings. (For IT maintenance issues there are systems that can remotely turn computers on at night.)
Recycle everything you can to save waste disposal costs.
In fiscal year 2009/2010, state government spent an estimated $58 a ton on waste collection and disposal fees. Recycling during the same period only cost about $3 a ton. N.C. General Statute 130A-309.14 requires state agencies to set up programs to collect all recyclable materials. (See the state recycling report for 2009 at www.p2pays.org/ref/49/48939.pdf).
Turn off equipment, or unplug it when it is not being used.
Many state offices and facilities have problems with “phantom energy” losses. Office equipment, large or small, will continue to draw noticeable energy even when it is turned off, and can account for as much as a third of the electric bill. For example, battery chargers left plugged in continue to use a few watts per day when not charging. Some commercial grade coffeemakers can use a few hundred dollars per year in energy costs just keeping the water tank warm. Some inefficient office printers in standby mode will use as much as 60 percent of the energy, just keeping the ink setting roller hot.
Teleconferencing to save in travel costs.
A typical teleconferencing charge of five cents per minute per person, in a two hour meeting, could cost $6 per person to attend. However, driving 100 miles, round trip, for a meeting would cost more than $33 at the standard rate of 33 cents per mile.
Small no-cost measures save a lot of mileage.
Every extra 100 pounds carried around in a vehicle may reduce miles per gallon (mpg) by up to two percent. Idling gets zero mpg. Replacing a clogged air filter can improve a car's gas mileage by as much as 10 percent. Improve your gas mileage as much as three percent by keeping tires inflated to the proper pressure. Using the manufacturer's recommended grade of motor oil can also improve gas mileage by one to two percent. (See the United States Department of Energy – Fuel Economy Guide at http://www.fueleconomy.gov/).
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DENR is the primary environment agency and model for sustainable actions of all North Carolina government agencies.
DENR Sustainability Mission
To inspire a culture of sustainability within DENR by promoting environmentally responsible actions.