Today is Earth Day, a time when we evaluate how we use resources and try to reduce our carbon footprints. After all, Mother Earth provides us with a bounty of resources, so we should give back. Whether you work at home or at an office, you can take the next few weeks to observe Earth Day. Here are some tips for going green that you can keep up all year long:
Don't Drive to Work
If you typically drive alone to the office, consider trying something different on Earth Day. If possible, take a train or bus, or ride your bike instead. Not only will you reduce carbon emissions, but you'll also get a workout if you're pedaling.
Of course, bikes and public transit aren't an option for everyone, which is why carpools were created. Chat with your co-workers to see if anyone lives close enough to carpool with you. Who knows: If it goes well you might be able to continue sharing a ride (hello gas savings).
If you're an office manager, encourage your staff to work from home a few times a week. By staying home, employees don't create carbon emissions on their drives to the office.
Revise Your Computer's Energy Settings
Both those who work from home and those who trek to the office can make adjustments to their computer's energy settings. These include things like when your screensaver comes on - if you're out to lunch and the computer is still running at full speed, you're wasting energy.
Additionally, talk to your office manager about plugging computers and printers into a power strip. That way, at the end of the day, all you have to do is flip the switch and all the machines will shut off. The next morning, turn the strip on and everything will boot back up. If getting power strips isn't an option, be sure to turn off your computer before you leave for the day.
Default Printers to Use Both Sides
For most printers, the default setting is to print on one side of the paper. However, if your printers are capable, switch them to automatically print double-sided. This will halve the amount of paper you use and prevent you from having thick informational packets.
Optimize Central Air
Ask your building manager about the settings for your office's heating and cooling system. Ideally, it should automatically shut off at night and turn back on in the morning. Because the space is an office, it doesn't have to be a comfortable temperature all the time, only when people are around. Blasting heat or air conditioning in the off hours wastes energy.
Many thermostats not only let you set times for turning on and off, but also pick temperatures. Keep the air in the office at a comfortable level and prevent it from getting too hot or too cold, which is also a waste of energy.
If your home is your office, install a thermostat that lets you choose settings.
"Implement a recycling system in your office."
Recycle and Reuse
Implement a recycling system, and place bins throughout the office, especially near printers. Encourage staff to use the recycling bins and brief them on what can and cannot be recycled.
Additionally, you can reuse much of the waste in your office by composting. Apple cores, coffee grounds and food leftovers can become fertilizer for gardens. Research organizations in your area that collect bins to make compost. You'll keep a bin in your office, and the company will pick it up every week, then turn the contents into compost - you don't even have to do the work.
Examine Your Materials
From paper to furniture to lighting, there's a greener way to supply your office. For instance, use LED or compact florescent light bulbs, both of which require less energy to power - they're more efficient and last longer than incandescent bulbs.
Additionally, seek paper and furniture made from recycled materials. Buying used office furniture is also an option. Of course, don't throw out the pieces you have now just to get recycled furniture - whenever you buy new pieces for the office, just consider their source.
While printing on both sides and using recycled paper is an improvement, the best way to reduce paper consumption is to go digital. Send email memos, implement eLearning courseware for your training needs and use file sharing - each measure allows you to accomplish your goals on a computer rather than with paper.
We here at ej4 will be doing our best to go green for Earth Day. To help further green awareness, we're happy to announce the release of our new Green content! Get a sneak peek in the video below.