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Save costs and troubles on your office equipment

Energy, Carbon
All sectors, Office and administration
High cost
Annual saving:
10 - 30 %
Payback time:
3 - 5 Year(s)
Read more
Resource savings: Energy:
Even low- and no-cost actions can reduce energy costs by at least 10 % and produce quick returns; and for many businesses a 20 % cut in energy costs represents the same bottom line benefit as a 5 % increase in sales
Associated cost savings: Energy:
10 - 30%
Premises and operation areas:
Office management, Office building, Waste and recycling
Size of company:
Micro (less than 10), Small (less than 50), Medium (less than 250), Large (more than 250)
Advancement in applying resource efficiency measures:
One off investment:
1000 - 25000€
What is in it for you:
Improving energy efficiency in office equipment results in direct energy, carbon and cost savings, extends the life of equipment, and reduces hassles for staff.
Descriptive information:

Most businesses rely on a range of office equipment in order to function. From the basics like computers, printers, and copiers to projectors, scanners and teleconference facilities, it is widely recognised that these items have become integral to daily activity. But it is not always appreciated how much these cost a company. Office equipment is the fastest growing energy user in the business world, and expected to comprise 30 % of office energy use by 2020.

The benefits of increasing equipment efficiency include:

  • Reduced energy cost: As office equipment runs more efficiently, there will be a drop in energy consumption and running costs
  • Longer useful life of equipment: Equipment that operates at full power for less time is less likely to overheat or fail, and usually lasts longer
  • Reduced mechanical ventilation requirements: Equipment on standby mode runs at lower temperatures which means less need for ventilation and cooling
  • Protecting the environment: Lower energy consumption means reduced carbon emissions which are a major contributor to climate change
  • Improved competitive advantage: Good environmental performance is increasingly valued and often expected by customers

Making even small adjustments to the way office equipment is used can significantly improve the working environment and, at the same time, save money.

Low-cost, quick wins can reduce energy costs by at least 10 %. For example, ensure all staff switch off computers and allocate responsibility for switching off other centrally used equipment, such as printers and vending machines, or consider installing plug-in seven-day timers to automatically switch them off. If left on constantly, a typical vending machine can cost € 136 (£ 120) per year to run. Always ensure standby/hibernate features are enabled on equipment to reduce building cooling requirements and maximise product lifespan.

Investing in better-performing equipment can also save energy and costs in the long run. For example, most computers can simply be upgraded with newer, more energy efficient components, rather than wholesale replacement. Alternatively, consider using a centralised server to replace separate desktops in the office. This significantly reduces the investment cost and energy expenses, while delivering better information security and reducing the risk of data loss in the case of a computer failure.

Other options include:

  • Leasing the latest, energy efficient equipment can generate savings
  • Purchase equipment based on business requirements; for example, high-spec laser printers can be energy-intensive in active and standby mode, while inkjet printers provide a similar print quality but use less energy
  • Consider the lifetime running costs; some energy efficient appliances may cost more to buy but save money over their lifetime 
  • Look out for the ‘Energy Star’ label to identify better-performing products

Carbon Trust Guide (2006), 'Office Equipment, Introducing energy saving opportunities for business', https://www.carbontrust.com/media/13113/ctv005_office_equipment.pdf

Carbon Trust Guide (2012), ‘Better Business Guide to Energy Saving’, https://www.carbontrust.com/resources/guides/energy-efficiency/better-bu...

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