Exploring employee energy efficiency awareness in UK commercial offices : IT and small power

Morris, Jessica and Oliveira, Sonja (2019) Exploring employee energy efficiency awareness in UK commercial offices : IT and small power. Energy Efficiency, 12 (5). pp. 1237-1252. ISSN 1570-6478

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    Energy consumption reduction is called upon across UK business facilities in order to mitigate the rising impacts of climate change. Business facilities such as office buildings rely on a range of electrical equipment on a day-to-day basis (Carbon Trust 2005b). However, it is not always appreciated how much electrical equipment can cost a company (Carbon Trust 2005b). The need for businesses to assess their current office energy use and seek ways to significantly improve their energy efficiency and energy cost is increasing (Pellegrini-Masini and Leishman 2011). The implementation and effectiveness of energy-efficient measures within a commercial office environment is reported as a key to the success of improving a business' energy efficiency (DECC 2012; Westminster Sustainable Business Forum 2013). Office electrical equipment can be responsible for up to 30% of total energy consumption. Using equipment more efficiently is suggested to enable a difference to energy use and spending (Npower 2010). Individual IT equipment and small appliances is an area where wasteful electricity consumption can often occur through the inefficient use. Typically, desktop and associated IT equipment such as computers, printers, modems and fax machines average about 160 W per work location commercial offices (BRECSU 2000). According to Bray (2006), employee usage patterns relating to IT equipment and small power appliance use are a more important factor in determining energy consumption than the energy efficiency ratings of the equipment itself. In addition, out-of-hours usage is a common issue which needs further investigation by exploring small power behaviour of office workers when leaving at the end of the working day (Bray 2006). The purpose of this survey-based approach paper is to examine employee awareness and behaviour regarding energy efficiency implementation in commercial office buildings in the UK, with a focus on IT and small power equipment. The IT and small power equipment which are included as part of this study are laptops, desktop computers, printers, teleconference equipment, fax machines, kettles and microwaves. The following sections discuss key literature on the topic followed by a section on research methods. This is followed by a discussion of key findings, discussion and conclusion outlining key contributions and implications.