Small businesses and offices use a substantial amount of electricity for running their equipment, lighting, heating and air-conditioning. In addition, they use a lot of disposable, single-use items that pose a significant threat to environment once they end up in the landfill. By following these recommendations, every office can become greener and take more responsibility for the environment.
Stop Energy Vampirism
Electronic equipment like computers, printers, copiers and LCDs actually continue to leech small amount of electricity even when power is off. While it seems insignificant, over a year this passive energy can amount to staggering figures. Many devices have power saving features that activate the sleep mode when a device is not active for a given period of time. Plug all the cords into a power strip with a switch, so you can safely disconnect all the equipment after work.
Invest in Energy Star Products
Energy Star is a federal label that certifies that a device has a special energy-saving features. These devices operate normally but use less energy on a daily basis. While Energy Star equipment is a bit more expensive than the standard products, the savings will soon justify the difference. Energy Star label is available for more than 60 products categories.
When Moving, chose an Energy Star Building
In addition to equipment and appliances, buildings can too have the Energy Star certification. These buildings are made in accordance to safety and health standards, with special attention to energy efficiency, using up to 35% less energy than standard buildings. As a result, the operational cost of the building is reduced as well. When the time comes to move office, you should strongly consider an Energy Star building.
Encourage Green Commuting
While it is not strictly related to office environment, commuting is an elementary part of work etiquette. There are many ways how you can save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emission while commuting. Aside from using public transportation, biking, or telecommuting, one of the best and most effective ways to arrive to work and go home is carpooling. In addition to reducing carbon emission, it also cuts personal travel costs, traffic congestion and requires less parking space.
Apart from direct energy saving, an office can do a lot to reduce waste and pollution. The key words are reduce, reuse and recycle. Let’s start with adoption of two-sided printing and copying. This simple procedural modification reduces the paper use for 50%. Also, you can encourage buying office supplies that are made with recycled content and only print documents that you absolutely need. Paper products, batteries and toner cartridges can be recycled, as well as electronics, through various leasing and retailer take-back programs.
Consider your Lighting Options
It was calculated that if every household in the US replaced only one incandescent light bulb with a compact fluorescent light (CFL), it will have an environmental impact as if one million cars were removed from the roads. Now consider how much can your office contribute by replacing all of its standard bulbs with CFLs.
Give Edge to Green Power
Although many end-consumers perceive electricity as clean energy, when compared to coal or oil, actually it is the electricity that is generated by fossil fueled-plants that makes the strongest environmental impact. On the other hand, green power is electricity that comes from renewable sources, like sun, wind, geothermal and biomass plants. Solar energy can be installed by experts like Bergen County roofers. The bottom line is: purchase more green power. Aside from contributing to preservation of fossil fuel resources, you will be contributing to the development of green power industry.
Invest in New Equipment
Even if it is not Energy Star rated, a new generation of devices is always more energy efficient than the previous ones. This especially accounts for computer screens, where LCD screens need much less energy than the older types. Also, if your office uses an old fridge, it is responsible to at least $300 in electricity bills a year. On the other hand, the latest refrigerator models usually figure up to $75 in operational costs. You can even go one step further and buy a mini refrigerator that won’t cost you more than $10 a year.
With just a few minor modifications and change of habits your office can do a lot towards more eco-conscious approach to running business. While some concessions have to be made, in this case the result definitely justifies the effort.