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3 Ways to Trim Energy Costs for Your Business

The U.S. spends $1 trillion a year on energy—nearly 6 percent of its GDP. Small businesses alone spend opens in a new window$60 billion a yearopens PDF file to power their operations.

While costs vary from one business to the next, by making good energy choices, even small businesses can save as much money and prevent as much pollution—per square foot—as large corporations.

If you’re a business owner, energy efficiency is good for your bottom line and your public image. Here are 3 ways to slash energy costs and generate good PR for your business.

1: Promote good airflow.

Pockets of frigid and stagnant air are annoying for employees and can overtax heating and air conditioning systems. Promote good airflow in your office by following these tips:

  • Check for ventilation blockages. Employees often deal with temperature discomfort by closing or blocking air conditioning registers and vents. If you discover closed vents, reopen them and use opens in a new windowvent diverters and deflectors to make individual employees more comfortable.
  • Arrange office partitions to maximize airflow. Make sure cubicles are evenly spaced with aisles in between to allow for good airflow.
  • Change HVAC filters regularly. A dirty filter makes your HVAC system work harder, increasing energy costs.
  • Make sure ducts are in good condition. Leaky and poorly insulated ducts are huge energy wasters. If you’re not sure about the condition of your ducts, call in a specialist.
  • Call an HVAC specialist if you change the layout or usage of your space. Reconfiguring a space can create airflow imbalances. If you make significant changes to the layout of your office or add staff, call in an HVAC specialist, who will make ductwork changes to improve airflow as needed.
  • Install a programmable thermostat. When programmed correctly, a thermostat can save you hundreds each year on energy costs.
  • Take advantage of windows. Although somewhat rare in commercial spaces today, if your building has windows that open and close, take advantage of them when weather is good. Turn off your HVAC system and open windows to let in fresh air.

2: Invest in energy-efficient lighting.

Lighting costs make up around opens in a new window20% of all the electricity used in the United States today, but lighting has come a long way in terms of efficiency.

Today, LEDs are replacing even energy-efficient fluorescents. LED lighting systems can deliver many more lumens per watt than comparable fluorescents. If replacing your lighting system isn’t cost effective or practical, here are some other ways to manage energy consumption from lighting:

  • Use bi-level switching. This allows you to control a lighting system in groups of fixtures—for example, to turn off half the lights in a room.
  • Install occupancy sensors. We’ve all encountered these sensors at some point. Occupancy sensors detect the motion of the occupants in the room. When no motion is detected, the lights automatically shut off. Movement triggers the lights to come back on.
  • Install dimmers. Both LEDs and CFLs come in dimmable varieties (make sure the label says dimmable). You can manually dim the lights or buy daylight dimmer switches with special sensors that automatically dim the lights depending on how much natural light is available.

3: Invest in ENERGY STAR-certified products.

office cubicles glass partition walls enclosures

The U.S. could prevent opens in a new window15 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions if all computers sold in the country were ENERGY STAR certified, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Investing in ENERGY STAR-certified laptops and desktop computers can help you reduce energy costs. Take it a step further by investing in ENERGY STAR-certified printers, copiers, TVs, ceiling fans, dishwashers, and other appliances and equipment.

 

Publicize your move toward greater energy efficiency.

Making energy efficient changes at your business is a PR opportunity. Environmentally conscious businesses are increasingly attractive to consumers these days. Don’t hesitate to publicize changes you’ve made to improve energy efficiency.

Blog about it (remember to include statistics) and consider doing a press release. Especially if you’re a larger or well-known company, or you’ve invested in renewable energy credits or carbon offsets, you should have a lot of newsworthy topics.

Space Plus: Helping Businesses Create More Energy-Efficient Spaces

Today’s businesses need state-of-the-art solutions, and Space Plus, a division of The Sliding Door Company, delivers.

The open-top design of our office partitions and sliding room dividers are designed to let light in and help promote good air circulation. Our talented team will help you choose from a variety of designs, glass types, and frame finishes to suit your space and help you reach your energy savings goals.

View our gallery for inspiration and learn more about our interior door solutions for office environments here.

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Boost Worker Productivity (and Your Bottom Line) with Coworking Spaces

Coworking spaces are typically membership-based communal workspaces where freelancers, remote workers, and entrepreneurs work side by side. These shared spaces have proven benefits for worker satisfaction, morale, and productivity—and that should pique the interest of every business owner.

Harvard Business Review published one of the most comprehensive opens in a new windowstudies to date on coworking spaces. In it, a research team from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business interviewed several founders of coworking spaces and community managers, and surveyed hundreds of workers from dozens of different coworking spaces around the country.

Here’s what they found:

People who use coworking spaces feel a stronger sense of identity at work.

Since coworking spaces don’t fuel the kind of direct competition or company politics of traditional workplaces, people don’t feel the need to put on a persona. That means they’re freer to be themselves.

And because coworking spaces bring people of different backgrounds and experiences together, individuals can set themselves apart by touting their unique skill sets.

Perhaps most importantly, coworking has a social mission and code of conduct outlined in the opens in a new windowCoworking Manifesto. Since coworking is as much a movement as it is a concept, people who use coworking spaces say they feel part of something bigger.

They feel more in control.

Unlike traditional offices, many coworking spaces are accessible 24/7. That means people can put in an extra-long day when they have a deadline to meet, take a siesta in the afternoon, run errands, or go to the gym mid-day. This kind of flexibility is especially attractive to Millennials, opens in a new windowwho will dominate the workforce in the coming years.

Coworking spaces provide a good balance of autonomy and structure. They’re usually designed with different work zones, including open rooms with communal seating, cafés, and quiet spaces with glass office partitions for privacy. Simple freedoms like choosing where to sit and being able to move about freely give workers a greater sense of control.

They also feel like part of a community.

One of the main draws of coworking is the sense of community it creates. Entrepreneurs or freelance workers could just as easily work from home, but they wouldn’t have the same opportunities to collaborate and connect with others.

Each coworking space has its own vibe and atmosphere. opens in a new windowWeWork emphasizes community events like happy hours and lunch-and-learns. opens in a new windowProximity Space is focused on creating inspirational work environments. opens in a new windowGalvanize is committed to creating a learning community for technology and opens in a new windowSerendipity Labs is opening locations all over as well as, opens in a new windowVenture X.

While community is at the heart of coworking spaces, socializing is optional. But the researchers from the University of Michigan found that even the potential for interactions helped people in coworking spaces identify with the community.

So, it’s clear that workers like the energy and collaboration of coworking spaces. But how does that translate to productivity? According to opens in a new windowresearch by Deskmag and Deskwanted, 74% of coworkers reported being more productive, and more than two-thirds reported feeling more creative and collaborative on projects. It’s why huge companies like Google and Zappos are sending their employees to work in coworking spaces.

Building Your Own Coworking Space

Coworking spaces are popping up all over the country. If you’re not near a major city or there are no coworking spaces available near you, consider starting your own. Depending on your location, you might be able to find a landlord or property manager willing to offer you an inexpensive lease or month-to-month arrangement.

Look for a space with an open floor plan conducive to communal seating. Also make sure to create private areas within the space where people can retreat for work that requires intense concentration. Movable walls and glass partitions are ideal for creating private or semi-private spaces and sectioning off part of a room. They’re designed for versatility, so you can reconfigure them as your needs change.

Space Plus: Helping You Build an In-Demand Coworking Space

The workplace is evolving, and coworking spaces are helping meet the demands of the new workforce. Space Plus, a division of The Sliding Door Company, specializes in interior door solutions for commercial buildings and office spaces.

Our office partitions are sleek and modern, constructed of the highest quality tempered or laminated glass. Our talented team will help you choose from a variety of designs, glass types, and frame finishes to suit your space.

View our gallery for inspiration and learn more about our glass partitions and sliding glass door solutions for office environments here.