Reducing our energy consumption: offices

Buildings in the developed world consume about 40% of the world's energy, for heating, cooling, lighting and running equipment such as computers.

Our offices also produce waste - such as paper, printer cartridges and redundant computer equipment. By recycling as much of this waste as possible we can help to reduce the demand for new materials, which helps cut CO2 emissions in factories and in the production of raw materials. By reducing the amount of paper used and recycling waste paper, we can help cut the amount of energy needed to produce paper from virgin pulp.

What has WPP done so far?

Energy consumption from our offices contributes most to our carbon footprint. We are taking action to reduce this, primarily by becoming more efficient and switching to green electricity, where available. In the UK, up to 70% of the electricity we use now comes from renewable sources, and has no net effect on concentrations of carbon in the atmosphere.

Icon - 37 degreesWe are creating a carbon calculator for all WPP companies. This will help office managers decide on the best sources of energy so that they can maximise the use of renewables.

WPP has developed a strategic energy initiative called Total Energy Management Approach (TEMA). This will also assist us in preparing for expected market changes, such as the introduction of energy performance certification for all commercial buildings in the EU from 2009.

In the UK, we have appointed a preferred recycling partner to make it easier for our companies to recycle common office consumables, such as paper and glass/plastic bottles.

What WPP will do next

  • Outside the UK, research the availability of green electricity and switch wherever possible.
  • Assess the feasibility of appointing a preferred recycling partner to make it easier for our companies to recycle common office consumables, such as paper and glass/plastic bottles across all our major markets.
  • Encourage greater use of energy-efficient buildings, such as WPP's Alley 24 in Seattle which is certified to the Leadership in Energy and Environment (LEED) standard of the US Green Buildings Council.
  • Improve information that promotes standards for new builds, refurbishment and fit outs, together with energy-efficiency standards for building maintenance.
  • Develop and publicise the WPP Energy Policy.

What you can do

At work:

  • Get into the habit of switching off everything that uses electricity when it is not in use, including lights. Suggest automated switching where possible.
  • Turn off equipment at the mains rather than leaving it on standby. Equipment on standby uses as much as 40% more energy over 24 hours than the same equipment in use for three hours.
  • Recycle as much as possible. There is less energy used in recycling than in originating new goods. For example, recycling two glass bottles saves enough energy to boil water for five cups of tea.

At home:

  • Switch to green electricity. By doing so, you'll help boost demand for renewable energy sources.
  • Use low-energy light bulbs - a global switch to efficient lighting would trim the world's electricity use by nearly a tenth.
  • Insulate and draught-proof your home. Turn down your thermostat - each 1° drop in temperature in the winter can save 10% on your energy bill.
  • Only run your washing machine and dishwasher with full loads. Use the lowest heat setting - modern detergents are designed for low-temperature washing. Most will wash at 30°C and some work well in cold water.

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