513 Green Resources

Unsure of what a certain metric means or how to achieve it? Use these resources for clarification and guidance on how to implement new sustainable actions in your workplace.

Click on each metric to show the relevant resources and information.


1. Track, understand, and review utility bills to identify any inconsistent high usage

  • Compile your energy bills from at least the last 12 months. Compare readings to previous ones to spot trends or inconsistencies.
  • Examples:
  • Guide on how to enter and manage tenant spaces in ENERGY STAR® Portfolio Manager®.
  • Benefit:​
  • Monitoring energy use enables your company to understand water use patterns and identify potential inefficiencies. Monitoring is also essential to setting reduction targets in energy use.

2. Enable automatic “sleep mode” on computers and printers

  • Examples:
  • Set office computers and printers to turn off display after five minutes of non-use and discourage the use of screen savers.
  • A guide for how and why to put computers to sleep.
  • Benefit: ​
  • Sleep mode helps to conserve energy and save money on your energy bill.​

3. Have a policy encouraging employees to unplug electronics at the end of the workday or use smart plug surge protectors

  • Examples:
  • Encourage employees to turn off non-critical computers and printers at the end of the day.
  • Unplug non-critical electronics at the end of the day. In addition to computers, this can include appliances like coffee pots and toasters.
  • Provide power strips in every office areas so employees can easily shut down all their electronics at one time.
  • Benefits:
  • Electronics use electricity even when they aren't in use; making sure they are turned off and/or unplugged helps to conserve energy and ave money on your energy bill.​

4. Had an energy audit performed or complete energy waste walkthroughs on a scheduled basis

  • Examples:
  • Hire a company to perform an energy audit for your office space to inform recommendations for upgrades.
  • Or complete an energy audit or energy waste walk through yourself:
  • Benefits:
  • Energy Audits identify operational and maintenance measures your workplace can implement to save energy and energy costs.

5. Have a policy to purchase and use energy-efficient products, like Energy Star appliances

  • EnergyStar labeled products are backed by independent, third–party certification and meet EPA’s specifications for energy efficiency and performance.
  • Benefits:
  • When you use these energy–saving products in your business, you can expect a higher performance and savings on your energy bills.

6. Have a policy to close blinds and curtains after hours

  • Example:
  • Encourage employees to close their office and conference room blinds when leaving for the day​.
  • Benefit:
  • ​Closing blinds keeps direct sunlight out of your workplace which reduces e unwanted solar heat gain. Closing window blinds can also save energy in the winter by adding insulation to the windows, reducing heat loss.

7. ​Have a programmable or smart thermostat set to reduce HVAC usage after hours

  • Offices can save money on heating and cooling bills by simply resetting the thermostat for the end of the workday or when people won't be regularly in the office. This can be done automatically without sacrificing comfort by installing an automatic setback or programmable thermostat.
  • Benefit:
  • Offices can save up to 3% for each degree the thermostat is raised in the summer and lowered in the winter.

8. Have a policy to turn off­ lights after leaving a room or use occupancy sensors

  • Examples:
  • Encourage staff to turn off lights when exiting an otherwise empty room by posting signage near light switches.
  • Have motion activated or occupancy sensors which turn lights on automatically when someone enters a room, and save energy by turning lights off soon after the last occupant has left the room.
  • Benefits:​
  • Reduces energy use and costs.

9. Install LED or other energy efficient lighting

  • There are a number of low-cost lighting solutions a businesses can invest in to make lighting more efficient and save money in the long run.
  • Examples:
  • ENERGY STAR-qualified LEDs use only 20%–25% of the energy and last 15 to 25 times longer than the traditional incandescent bulbs they replace​.
  • Replace incandescent lights in exit signs with LED fixtures. This can reduce costs of these signs by up to 95%.
  • Benefits:​
  • Energy efficient lighting is more cost effective than traditional bulbs as they use less energy and have a longer lifespan.

10. Have dimmers or make use of natural lighting instead of full lighting

  • Dimmer controls provide variable indoor lighting. When you dim lightbulbs, it reduces their wattage and output, which helps save energy. ​
  • Dimmers are particularly effective in spaces with natural lighting. Numerous studies have shown that natural light in office spaces improves worker satisfaction and productivity.
  • Benefits:
  • Dimmers can help save on energy costs by reducing lightbulb output and can help supplement areas with natural lighting.

11. Encourage employees to use task lighting instead of lighting entire areas

  • Because natural light needs to be supplemented with artificial light in offices, allow employees to have desktop task lights that emit light in the same spectrum as natural daylight.​​
  • Benefits:​
  • Use of task lighting can significantly reduce overall lighting demands by allowing employees to aim the light where it is needed on their desk.

12. Clean lighting fixtures and lamps regularly

  • Have a schedule to wipe off fixtures, lightbulbs and lenses every few months to remove any buildup of dust.
  • Benefit:
  • Dust will often settle on light bulbs as well as around the fixtures, causing the bulb to emit less light.​ Cleaning them every few months will increase the brightness of your facility and save you money over time.

13. Have on-site renewable energy or purchase a percentage of renewable energy

  • Examples:
  • Install alternative energy sources onsite such as solar panels.​
  • Purchase renewable energy. For more information on green power purchasing visit:
  • Benefits:​​​

  • Using green power helps to support renewable energy development, reduce the carbon footprint associated with your purchased electricity, and hedge against future electricity price increases and volatility.

14. Encourage employees to dress appropriately for the weather and discourage the use of individual space heaters

  • Examples: ​
  • Encourage employees to dress appropriately for the seasons and the comfort level of your work area.
  • Provide employees with branded jackets or sweaters to keep in their office.
  • Discourage employees from keeping personal space heaters in their offices and require approval for employees to have one.
  • Benefits:​
  • Encouraging employees to dress in layers reduces the likelihood of wasting energy to unnecessarily heat workspace​s.
  • Restricting the use of space heaters help to maximize energy efficiency, minimize costs, reduce emissions, and increase the safety of building inhabitants.

15. Communicate energy conservation information and progress to employees​​

  • Provide employees with regular updates about energy initiatives and progress.
  • Examples​:
  • Post progress towards energy goals on bulletin boards, post tips in staff spaces, include regular sustainability reminders in staff meetings or newsletters, or post updates on the company intranet channel.
  • Benefit:
  • ​Regular updates helps to keep energy efforts at the forefront of employees’ minds and ties employees’ effort to actual results.