To reduce IT energy costs, enterprises often use virtualization tools to consolidate servers and advanced technologies to optimize IT loads and control the environment in their data centers. Although the results are impressive, using these technologies is not practical in most small and midsized businesses. But that does not mean small and midsized companies are unable to reduce their IT energy costs.

Here are five ways you can reduce the energy usage in your business, no matter its size:

1. Let Computers Sleep When They Are Inactive

The sleep mode saves power when employees are away from their computers. It kicks in after a period of inactivity or when a computer’s user selects the sleep option. Before going to sleep, the computer stops non-essential activities and stores information about any open applications or documents in memory. When the user returns and presses a key, the computer wakes up within a few seconds. The user can then pick up right where he or she left off.

The sleep mode is usually enabled by default. To get the most benefit, computers should be set to go into sleep mode after 15 minutes of inactivity.

2. Turn Off Computer Peripherals When Not in Use

Turning off monitors, printers, scanners, and other computer peripherals during non-business hours will reduce your energy bill. You might even want to unplug infrequently used devices because they consume electricity even when they are turned off.

3. Shop Wisely the Next Time You Are Purchasing Devices

Older devices often use more electricity. For example, cathode ray tube (CRT) monitors use more energy than liquid crystal display (LCD) and light-emitting diode (LED) monitors.

Even though older devices tend to use more power, purchasing new devices just to save energy does not make sense. The money you spend on the devices will be a lot more than the energy dollars you save. However, the next time you need to purchase a new device, you should make sure it is energy efficient. One way to do so is to look for the Energy Star label. Although the Energy Star program originated in the United States, other countries have since adopted it, including the European Union, Canada, and Australia.

4. Print Only When Necessary

Printing files only when necessary reduces the amount of time that a printer must run, which in turn, reduces energy costs. There are other benefits as well. You won’t have to buy as much paper and toner (or ink). It will also prolong the life of your printer.

5. Replace Incandescent Lightbulbs

While lighting is not an IT energy cost per se, employees need light when working on their computers. Compact fluorescent light (CFL) and LED lightbulbs consume less power and have longer lifespans than their incandescent counterparts. For example, Energy Star-certified LED and CFL lightbulbs use up to 80% less energy and last up to 25 times longer than incandescent ones.