Energy and Cost Saving Tips, Part III

This is part of a continuing series on simple, inexpensive energy saving tips to do now that will produce real energy cost savings and greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions, suggestions that will not put out your staff, and make you look like a hero.


Part 1 discussed the very simple concept of personal computers. Either make sure they are turned off when not in use (nights, weekends) or invest in a system that will keep them in sleep mode when not in use. This leads to the broader point that there are improved technologies in many electronic areas (mainly in keeping equipment in “sleep” mode to be “revived” in a matter of seconds) that can reduce energy usage and costs.

McKinsey & Company developed and updated a graph showing the most cost effective GHG emission reduction strategies – which ones will bring the highest dollar return over its lifetime. The latest published version, Exhibit 7 of “Energy Efficiency: A Compelling Global Resource” (downloadable from its website) shows that the most cost effective greenhouse gas reduction strategy is replacing electronic equipment with less energy intensive models. An easy reference is available: the Energy Star program labels equipment that generally exhibit electricity savings of at least 10 percent compared to standard brands (often as high as about 40 percent). The cost of such equipment is often only slightly higher than non-Energy Star models. Thus, not only is the ROI usually less than one year because of electric bills immediately reduced, but given the product lifetimes, savings can be enormous. Energy Star recommendations are found for a wide range of equipment found in an office or elsewhere, such as PCs, refrigerators, printers, etc. I am typing this article on an Energy Star-labeled laptop computer right now.

Perhaps what is easiest about this energy tip is that this involves no heavy lifting by you, the EHS or sustainability professional, but should be the responsibility of another group: purchasing. Inform them of Energy Star and request a policy to consider Energy Star-labeled equipment for all future purchases. Then your company will lock into real energy cost savings without a big effort. And both you and Purchasing will be seen as helping the company bottom line.

An Additional Tip – for you!

Exhibit 4 of the same McKinsey document contains a graph listing equipment and their average cost per end-use energy savings: which equipment will give you the biggest energy savings given the initial outlay. The most cost effective items are two you use in your home: your water heater and your freezer. So take extra care to purchase Energy Star equipment such as these for your home, to maintain them, and insulate piping well to get your best personal energy savings at home.

Marc Karell is the owner of Climate Change & Environmental Services. CCES can assist you with the technical details of: your emissions inventory; your air permitting status; and whether your facility is subject to air rules such as Title V and/or PSD. We can help you navigate through their complex processes. Read more useful material in the company’s blog:  CCES has experience in performing site-specific energy audits and recommending proven strategies and technologies to reduce your facility’s energy usage, saving you money with a good ROI and without inconveniencing your staff. See our website: and contact us at

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