Green Tips For The Workplace

Environmental Practices For The Workplace

Conserving energy in the workplace is good for the environment and can save money.

Consult with your building operations sections or maintenance staff to understand all alternatives and opportunities beyond those on this list:

Office Lighting Options

  • Ask all employees to turn off lights when leaving a room for more than 2 minutes (except HID fixtures - warehouse lighting - which require a warm-up period). This includes ceiling-mounted fixtures, as well as task lamps.
  • Whenever practical, use a task light instead of overhead lighting.
  • Turn off computers when not in use. Set all computers to hibernate after 1 hour or less of inactivity unless that computer performs a function that requires a different power management setting. Greater energy savings can be obtained by putting computers on timers in addition to setting them to the hibernate mode, so that they shut down on evenings and weekends when not being used.
  • Use day lighting whenever available by turning off lights near windows. In entrances, atriums and other common areas, which have daylight coming through windows, de-lamp or install a photocell to turn off lights when adequate natural lighting is available.
  • Have maintenance staff de-lamp fixtures that produce a harsh glare or in areas that are overlighted (ex.: hallways and open office areas).
  • Clean dusty diffusers and lamps every six to 12 months for improved lumen output.
  • When repainting, use light colors to reflect more light.
  • Avoid using incandescent light bulbs. Compact fluorescent bulbs use about one quarter of the energy and last up to 10 times longer.
  • Install motion sensors to turn off lights in frequently unoccupied areas, such as restrooms, copy rooms, storage rooms, conference rooms and offices.
  • Consider installing vending misers or cooler misers on beverage machines. Some cities have saved 40% or more on energy costs when installed.
  • Use LED traffic signals instead of incandescent bulbs. They use 90% less power, last 10 times longer and appear brighter. The City of Cincinnati is in a 10-year process to convert all traffic signals to LED. When the conversion is complete, the expected annual savings is $250,000 per year.
  • Retrofit incandescent and fluorescent exit signs with long lasting low-energy LED exit signs. This saved Lexington $5,800 in energy costs and $10,866 in annual labor costs.
  • Install timers or photocells on outside lights. Check timers to ensure that settings are correct and clean photocells to ensure proper operation. Consider turning off exterior accent lighting and building signage.


  • Install programmable thermostats. Consider setting no cooler than 75 degrees during the cooling season and no warmer than 68 degrees during the heating season. At times when a City building is scheduled to be unoccupied (such as nights and/or weekends), consider setting the thermostat to no cooler then 80 degrees during the cooling season and no warmer than 60 degrees during the heating season.
  • Reduce temperature setting on all water heaters to no hotter than 115 degrees or at the coolest setting available for a given water heater.
  • Insulate between heated and unheated spaces. Plug air leaks around windows, doors, light switches, electrical outlets and other openings. Do not leave doors and windows separating climate controlled spaces from non-climate controlled spaces open for any longer than necessary for entry and egress, or other business related purposes.
  • Heat your garage with a used oil heater. Lexington saved $1,000 per year in heating costs for one facility. Both Parks and the Municipal Garage are using used oil heaters to heat various garages.
  • Consider geothermal heating/cooling systems. They are 33% more energy efficient than conventional HVAC units.


  • Reduce vehicle idling.
  • Keep tires property inflated.
  • Combine trips.
  • Do not carry unnecessary cargo in the vehicle. For example, 100 pounds of materials carried in a car will reduce the gas mileage by 3-5%.
  • Purchase the most efficient vehicle that will serve your purpose. Consider purchase of plug-in hybrid vehicles. They allow 20-80 miles on electrical charge along with a transition to traditional hybrid.
  • Consider alt fuel vehicles (ethanol, biodiesel, compressed natural gas).


  • Limit/discourage use of individual heaters, fans, coffee warmers, coffee pots and personal refrigerators.
  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - consider two-sided printing, purchase recycled content supplies, recycle used printer cartridges.
  • Purchase EnergyStar® approved equipment, if available. This applies to: computers, monitors, printers, copiers, fax machines, heating and cooling devices, lighting equipment, kitchen appliances, battery chargers, cell phone chargers, external power supplies, etc. EnergyStar® equipment has been designed to meet strict efficiency standards that will save you money in energy costs.
  • Educate employees as to the impact energy costs have on our over budget and how their daily actions can dramatically reduce our over energy use and the associated costs.