May 24, 2012 Leave a Comment
It should come as no surprise that we are becoming more and more green in the home. Recycle. Turn off the lights. Unplug unused appliances. Keep the thermostat off. There shouldn’t be a reason why this doesn’t apply to an office. Not everyone is as green as they are in the office than if they are at home. I do catch myself being ‘un-green’ at times both in and out of the office. We try our best, right? A few things to consider to try to be more green in the office: (oh no, not another list….)
- Bring your own cup. Can’t be that hard right? Need coffee? Bring your own cup. I’ve always made sure to bring my own personal cup/mug to the office, especially when I start a new job. I’m not sure what excuses could come out of those who don’t. If you need separate ones for coffee and one for water, bring 2! Not only does it create excess waste, it can get pretty expensive. The Office Depot brand disposable coffee cups are $6.29 for 50. That’s $0.125 per cup used. Figure some use 2 a day, that’s a quarter a day for cups. At 260 work days a year, you’re looking at $65 per employee savings if it was eliminated. Now I’m not saying that you are completely banned of using disposable coffee cups, but limiting your use could help your company out. Besides, you don’t use disposable cups at home, do you?
- Recycle. This is an easy one. But split up the bins so people know where to put items. If you have a compost pick up at your office, have a bin designated for biodegradable items such as food scraps.
- Turn the lights off. Also an easy one. Conference rooms not in use, bathrooms unoccupied, lots of natural lighting… These are all reasons why you don’t need the lights on. If you have an office that has lots of natural lighting, use it! It’s probably more pleasant to the eyes than the artificial lights from above. Overhead fluorescent lamps are efficient, but why use energy when you don’t need to?
- Unplug when not in use. From what I hear, even if an appliance is not ‘on’, it’s still using some kW when it’s still plugged in. This applies to your phone chargers too. If you’re not charging anything, they are pretty pointless to have plugged in. Now, I do know that it can be quite the hassle and unrealistic to unplug everything including monitors, printers, and desk lamps. I wouldn’t expect people to do this.
- Sleep your computer. Lunch time is sleepy time for your computer. Stepping out for lunch? Going to a meeting that doesn’t require your laptop to be present? Put it to sleep. It will save some energy when it’s idling and not sitting there trying to process information. Not being an expert on this, but I would assume a computer that’s sitting there processing information such as when emails are coming in, and Facebook updating on you browser, is using a bit more energy than if it were to be put to sleep.
- Climate control —> Off. This one doesn’t apply to every office. If your office has the luxury of windows that actually open, open them. Too cold? Close them. This one is a compromise. Two real life cases come to mind that may affect the decision for this. 1. I worked on the 4th floor of an office building that had their climate control break in the middle of winter (Bay Area winter). Outside temp: 50′s. Inside temp: 85. It was not pleasant. 2. Another company I was at had a climate controlled warehouse. I was told by finance during a random conversation that we would save $10,000/mo by turning off the climate control just in the warehouse. zOMG! Apparently, it runs 24/7. So yes, this doesn’t apply to all offices. Another money saver.
- Stop Printing! There are reasons whey we need to print, and in those cases it’s ok. I have seen people print emails. I just don’t get this. the ‘e’ in email means ‘electronic’. It should stay that way. Email already saves paper by design, so why counter that by printing it? This leads to a product idea: Printing credits. Each employee should have printing credits that is allotted to them each month with no roll over. Every time you print, you use X number of credits. Use them up for the month? Sorry, you need to wait until next month. Yet another money saver.
There are many other things you can do to be more green. These were just a few. Just don’t mix it up with being this kind of green. Although, sometimes you may feel that way at times.