The Department of Energy (DOE) is setting an example for the entire Federal Government with aggressive but achievable goals for energy reduction at all DOE facilities, including its headquarters facilities in the Forrestal Building in downtown Washington, DC, and Germantown, MD.
Tips for Saving Energy
Employees at the Department's Headquarters facilities are advised to be aware of several actions that can add up to significant energy and monetary savings and help the Department showcase what can be accomplished.
- How to set up your desk for optimum energy conservation
- Safe use of power strips
- Make it a habit to turn off office lights
- The 1-2 rule: Walk up one flight and down two
- Energy Conservation Plans
- Plug your desktop computer CPU directly into a wall outlet and turn your computer off when you leave each night.
- If your desktop computer’s power cord cannot reach the wall outlet, use a separate, dedicated power strip to help reach. In this case, turn your computer off each night but keep its power strip on.
- As long as power is available to your desktop computer, the OCIO can access it remotely to provide necessary updates after hours in order to prevent any disruption to you during working hours.
All Other Office Electronics
(Monitor, Printer, Scanner, Laptop Computers, Task Lights, etc).
Even when turned off, many electronics will continue to draw small amounts of power if they are still plugged in. To eliminate these “vampire” loads:
- Plug all of these other office electronics into a single power strip.
- Turn off this power strip when leaving each night. This will completely cut power to these devices and kill any “vampire” loads.
- Note that the OCIO does not currently update laptop computers remotely. Therefore, until notified otherwise, laptops do not need to have power available at night.
Obtaining Power Strips
Power strips are available in the DOE self-help Office Supply Stores at the following Locations:
- Forrestal: Room GA-171
- Germantown: Room R-008
A power strip is simply a variation of an extension cord, where the cord terminates in a row or grouping of receptacles. Power strips provide multiple receptacles for office equipment such as computers (CPU’s and peripherals). Plugging office electronics into a single power strip and turning off this power strip when leaving each night potentially eliminates “phantom” or “vampire” electric loads and saves energy.
To ensure safe operations, all power strips should:
- Be certified by a nationally recognized laboratory such as Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL), Factory Mutual (FM), or by other Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories (NRTL). Look for an approval tag or label.
- Have an internal circuit breaker or fuse. These units will trip the breaker if the power strip is over loaded or shorted to prevent overheating and fire.
- Be plugged in directly to a wall electrical outlet. Never string together two or more power strips, often called "daisy-chaining" or "pig-tailing".
- Be located in an area with easy access. Do not use in a moist environment or a location where it will be covered with carpet, furniture or any other item that will limit or prevent air circulation.
- Not be used for for heat-producing or high amperage equipment such as refrigerators, microwaves, coffeemakers, heaters, etc.
- As a safety precaution, all employees should periodically inspect any surge protector that they are using. If the surge protector shows signs of overheating, such as discoloration or distortion; or if the green “protection” LED is not lit, the surge protector should be removed from service and replaced.
If you questions regarding the safe use of power strips, you may contact the Office of Headquarters Safety, Health and Security, MA-41 at 202-586-1005.
- When leaving your office for the evening, make it a habit to turn off your lights.
- If you share lights with a co-worker, make a point of knowing if you are the last one to leave so you can switch off the lights.
- A 150 lb person burns about 10 calories/min when walking up strairs and about 7 calories/min when walking down.
Use the 1-2 Rule
Walk up one flight and down two!
Don't waste time and energy!
As part of the Department’s Energy Efficiency campaign, each Headquarters Program and Staff Office participated in a contest early in 2010 to develop the best Energy Conservation Plan. These plans involved simple changes that employees could implement as part of their daily routines to help conserve energy. Plans were then divided into categories and reviewed by a panel to determine the best plan in each category. On Earth Day 2010, Secretary Chu presented awards to the following winners:
- Employee Participation Category: Office of Fossil Energy (FE)
- Lighting Category: Office of Management (MA)
- Copier, Scanner, Fax Category: Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EE)
- Best Overall Plan: Office of Nuclear Energy (NE)
Employee Participation - FE
The Office of Fossil Energy's (FE’s) plan included several unique employee participation approaches as follows:
- Soliciting Employee Suggestions: At the onset of this effort, FE solicited all of its employees for input on ideas to include in its plan.
- Issuing Energy Meters: This plan includes a pilot program to issue energy meters to employees for temporary use to measure their individual energy consumption from their desk-top equipment. Over time, employees will take turns using these meters. This provides a way for employees to see first-hand how much energy they are using and to see how changes in their routines can affect energy consumption.
- Conservation Lead: This plan called for appointing an organizational lead for energy conservation (which was a common approach with many plan submissions). However, FE took it a step farther by developing a comprehensive list of responsibilities for this conservation leader including tracking progress, publishing energy conservation bulletins, and conducting power usage studies.
Lighting - MA
The Office of Management (MA) submitted a solid and fully developed plan which particularly emphasized lighting initiatives as follows:
- Individual and Shared Light Switches: Suitemates who share lighting circuits will work together to assure that lights are turned off at the end of the day and any time they are away from the office during the day. MA will also identify all employees with individual light switches and will brief them on turning their lights off every time they leave their offices – whether for the night or just for a meeting.
- Task Lighting: Identify all task lights used in MA offices and strive to ensure they all use compact fluorescent lamps.
- Goals: This plan contains solid and measurable goals to improve lighting. Goals include identifying 100% of folks who share light switches and 100% of those with individual switches and informing them how to manage their lights. Goals also include inventorying 100% of task lights in MA office space and achieving 100% CFL usage for those task lights.
- Tracking: Develop a tracking sheet to identify every single employee’s lighting suite mate and task lights to optimize lighting control and configuration at the individual employee level.
Copier, Scanner, Fax - EE
The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EE) developed a comprehensive plan with strong supervisory involvement, an energy savings contest, and expansive green IT awareness. Their ideas concerning printers, copiers, and faxes included:
- Remote Power Strips: Pilot devices to allow multiple clusters of equipment in different areas to be powered down at once.
- Individual Printers: Achieve and maintain a ratio of 1 printer to 15 people or better and an evening workspace shutdown log.
- Printing Efficiency: Enforce duplex and black-and white printing.
- Check-list: Establish an evening checklist to ensure all printers, copiers, faxes (as well as lights and computers) are off.
- Tracking: Conduct monthly after-hours walkthroughs to ensure employees are turning off equipment.
Overall Plan - NE
The Office of Nuclear Energy's (NE’s) thoughtful, common-sense, and all-encompassing energy conservation plan embraced the full range of suggestions for office equipment, lighting, and employee participation, as well as additional areas for conservation. Highlights include:
- Computers/Monitors: Policy to phase-out policy desktop computers in favor of the smaller environmental footprint of the laptop was a unique suggestion.
- Employee Participation: Plans to hold annual energy saving seminars for all employees and to train summer interns for conducting energy audits.
- Printers: Policy to turn off printers when away from the office with an incentive program to track and encourage implementation.
- Flexi-place: High participation in flexi-place work arrangements with goals to increase even higher.
- Goals and Measures: For every initiative listed in its plan, NE included a specific quantitative goal and also identified how it will measure those goals. Establishing goals and aggressively tracking progress sets this plan apart from most others.