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How to Green Your Office, Courtesy of Visible Shops

In Uncategorized

Monday, April 7th, 2008

Today, we’ll go over some basics on how to conduct a work environment that is up-to-date with the times. These days, almost everyone knows that lifestyles changes need to be made to avoid waste and lower energy usage in the face of global warming and an increasingly cluttered world. Although much of our daily waste takes place at home, many of us spend 8 hours a day, 5 days a week in the office. Here are some quick tips on how to lighten your carbon footprint at the workplace.

1. Think Before Printing
What did those poor trees ever do to you? Resist the temptation to use up paper – take notes on the computer instead, and remember to use the back of the paper. The same can be said with printed ourpaper. With papers that are no longer needed, think about reusing the paper by flipping it over and placing it in the printer for informal print-outs. At Visible Shops, we have kept the number of printers to a minimum. Workers tend to print more when they have access to more printers. Remember that the printer itself is a device that uses up energy.

Furthermore, you can use print-outs for your scribbling and fast notes. Reusing should come before recycling. Email and teleconference instead of sending letters and memos. Lastly, consider buying paper that is recycled and never bleached. Only use the good stuff when presenting to clients. However, with the current choices available at major office equipment retailers, you can find quality paper that is 100% recycled and acid-free. We find it easy at our offices to stick with recycled paper without seeing any difference in quality.

2. Properly Use the Computer
First of all, consider purchasing computers that meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s new Energy Star program, where the computer uses no more than 30 watts of power when inactive. Notebooks are far more energy-efficient than desktops, for that matter. When getting rid of a computer, reuse or recycle parts. Contact the right people who would be interested in taking the computer off your hands.

In addition, at the end of the day, turn off your computer rather than letting it go to sleep. Sure, you will “waste” two minutes of precious morning time booting up, but you won’t be wasting energy during the night (or weekend!) while you are gone from the office.

3. Green Your Buzz Habit
Ditch Styrofoam cups and get mugs instead for your coffee and tea breaks. Not only is it more attractive, you won’t be adding clutter to your trash cans and recycling bins.

4. Switch Your Lighting and Mind Your Temperatures
Traditional light bulbs do not compare to the much more efficient compact fluorescent bulbs. Next time your bulbs die, replace them with their better counterparts. And as for thermostats, fix a temperature that is right for you while you are in the office, but change the thermostat to a more energy-efficient level when you leave for the weekend. Since no one will be around, it would be a waste to have a perfectly comfortable temperature running for all that time.

5. Recycle, Recycle, Recycle
You can recycle so many things in your office, including your printer cartridges, electronic devices, and all kinds of common supplies such as shipping boxes and envelopes. Earth2Tech, a blog about all things green, has a great post about “e-cycling” gadgets.

6. Get to Work in the Green Way (And By That, We Mean the Cost-Efficient Way, Too)
As you may well know, going green is not just about environmental considerations. It can translate into more money in your pocket. Energy bills tend to lower when you invest in green practices. The same can be said for commuting. Instead of paying for gas, maintenance costs, and parking fees, use public transportation. If you live nearby, walking and biking are other considerations. If you are an employer, offer telecommuting and videoconferencing as alternatives as well. If employees must drive, organize carpool parties.

These are just a few ways to reduce your impact on this planet while working at the office. Look up recycling programs for places and tips for electronic devices, especially, and make careful choices when making purchases for office supplies. Going green is not an entirely selfless act; you can benefit from lower energy and transportation costs as well!

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