How to save money by being more green with no pain

Change your printer and your AC unit.

That’s pretty much all a small design firm did in California, along with swapping their SUV for a Prius. They first tried a bunch of other stuff to reduce emissions, and only replaced the printer and air conditioning when they had to.

The results were startling: they reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 65%, and electricity costs by 40%. Read the article at Yale360.

The most important learning is that the entire exercise saved them money, and doing something similar could save you money as well. It’s not that hard to do so, and here is how:

How to save money by being more green with no pain

  1. Measure your baseline electricity use. Start by signing up to Powershop so you get pretty charts along with great prices
  2. Measure your fuel consumption if you have cars. Sign up to an oil company card and track your fuel use in litres.
  3. Plot your weekly or monthly  electricity and fuel use on a chart, and display it to everyone in your area.
  4. Watch the lines go down
  5. No really – the lines will go down on their own – just make sure those charts keep getting updated

It might seem as if this is no plan, but the point is to give the right information to the people that control the resources. That means each department or large team should have their own information, and judge themselves on their own reduction in consumption.

The teams can also track waste and recycled waste, water use and of course net savings in dollar terms.

While you can give teams occasional hints on how to reduce, it’s far better to let the teams self discover and then share how they have reduced and saved.

It might pay to invest in a meter that can measure power being supplied to each electronic item – whether in sleep mode or not. No doubt there are some shocking power draw measurements for the older and the cheaper equipment.

Remarkably this technique works not just in small companies, but also in giant ones. The Kwinana Nickel refinery saved millions of dollars through a combination of an external energy audit and subsequent projects along with asking teams in the refinery to come up with cost saving ideas. In my time there I saw refinery teams implement several ideas that saved hundreds of thousands of annual dollars each, and almost always did so for little cost. The top down projects were also good, but all required substantial investment of scarce capital.

Published by Lance Wiggs


2 replies on “How to save money by being more green with no pain”

  1. Hey,

    A cool tool for keeping track of your car is the app “Road Trip” for the iPhone. I can see how much my car, motorbike are costing me. I think there’s a similar app for Android but I don’t know the name.

    Makes you PAINFULLY aware how much your km is costing you. Might even move you to use a Snapper card more often ;-)



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