Going green is a must in this day and age, and our place of work should not be left behind.
To me, living in Florida means palm trees that sway in the evening breeze, beaches with beautiful turquoise-colored water and bright tropical flowers such as the magenta bougainvillea that grows around my neighbor’s door. However, all this natural beauty is in serious danger. The way we live in this day and age has a great negative impact on the environment.
As consumers, we buy things produced in factories that release toxic chemicals into the air, land and sea. We use iPhones that run on minerals that when mined produce toxic byproducts. We print on paper that used to be a tree. And we drive cars that releases ozone-destroying exhaust.
Additionally, offices consume so much energy, water and paper as well as creates commuters who pollute the air every day. It makes me wonder how much natural beauty will be left in the world for future generations to enjoy.
So, what can all of us do to minimize our carbon footprint and create an eco-friendly office?
With the creation of so many devices that are regularly consuming more and more energy, it amazes me as to how electric companies can even keep up with all of our growing power requirements. Below are some suggestions that can help your office conserve energy.
Go solar: We live in the sunshine state, so installing solar panels is good idea. The initial investment is significant. However, the long-term benefits are well worth it. Getting rebates or being able to sell power back to the electric company is a great financial incentive. Even in northern climates, bringing in your own mini power grid helps.
PC power: Programs can be installed to power down computers at night. Also, install smart strips to cut down the amount of energy being used from items that need to be plugged into an electrical outlet. In addition, screensavers can waste a lot of energy, so opt for monitors that are set to power off after a certain amount of time.
Lights off: Check the office for rooms and other areas that are not being used yet have the lights on continuously. In these areas, install motion sensors to trigger the lights, saving energy. Moreover, use compact florescent bulbs, which uses significantly less energy and does the same job as regular bulbs. You can even try good, old natural sunlight from a window if your office space allows it.
With technology providing us with so many ways to communicate, you’d think we wouldn’t even need paper anymore. Yet we still need a memo or a hard copy of something important printed out from time to time. Hence, to cut down on the consumption of paper try the following:
Printing to save: Print on both sides of a sheet of paper if your printer allows, and widen the margins. Also, with software like EcoPrint2 and Green Print that identify wasted space, you can now avoid waste printing, which accounts for a large amount of wasted paper.
Go digital: Send out more emails, texts or voicemails. In written communication, add a small note at the bottom saying to conserve energy, read online, don’t print. And, instead of paper files, keep a record of your files on your computer or laptop.
Recycle it: Purchase office supplies such copy paper, toilet paper, cups, plates, boxes, folders, envelopes and containers that are made from recycled material. Also, buy remanufactured toner and ink-jet cartridges since they’re such highly used items in an office. Then recycle all materials as well.
Reuse: Donate old equipment to other businesses or organizations such as schools, libraries, charities or non-profit organizations. If the equipment isn’t working, it’s important to dispose of or recycle properly.
You’re aware of the negative consequences of pollution, so begin taking these small steps in your workday to minimize these problems and create a greener office, one step at a time.
Do you have a green office tip to share? Please include in the comments below.
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