CAREER ADVANCEMENT / JUL. 28, 2014
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How To Go Green at Work

By “going green” at work, you are contributing in helping the environment. Becoming more eco-friendly will make your experience at work much more enjoyable, healthier and cost-efficient. Help your environment by not only going green at home, but at work, too!

Make a change, be energy efficient and boost the healthiness of your workplace by taking the following measures:

Computers

Believe it or not, an astonishing $1billion in electricity is used yearly in computer use in the United States. Although computers are heavily relied on in many businesses, it is through here that a vast amount of energy is used. Conserve energy by:

  • Investing in an energy-saving computer, monitor and printer.
  • Letting your monitor and display sleep after 15 minutes and putting your system on standby after 30 minutes. A computer in sleep mode can save 60-70% of power.
  • Avoiding using a screensaver as this uses up more energy.
  • Shutting down your computer and peripherals like printers or scanners when leaving work.
  • Unplugging chargers and plugs when not in use.

Printers and Paper

Did you know that the average U.S. office worker goes through 10,000 sheets of copy paper a year? Think before you print and save energy by limiting ink use. Recycle paper or avoid using too much to be resource efficient. The more you do online, the less ink and paper you’ll use.

  • Avoid printing in color.
  • Try to use refillable/reusable ink cartridges.
  • Save the trees and set your printer to print as ‘double-sided’
  • Don’t print everything; keep important files stored on your computer.
  • Send company updates through email rather than paper.
  • Buy recycled or chlorine-free paper.
  • Use old pieces of paper to take notes.
  • Instead of paper, use file-sharing websites like Dropbox or Google Drive.

Lighting

Artificial lighting consumes 40% of electricity in a typical office building. You could reduce the costs of running a business by choosing natural light over office lighting. Lower energy use and electricity bills when it comes to lighting by:

  • Turning off lights in rooms that nobody is working in.
  • When everybody leaves the office, make sure all lights are switched off in the building.
  • Pulling up the blinds for natural lighting. It has proven to improve productivity in the workplace.
  • Switching from incandescent bulbs to energy-efficient compact fluorescents as they use 75% less energy and they last up to 10 times longer.
  • Installing motion-activated light switches.
  • Using LED lights for your desktop instead of compact fluorescent bulbs.

Health

Going green at work isn’t merely about saving energy and being cost-efficient. Your health is also at risk. Keep warm differently, stay cool in alternative ways and opt for different products to avoid toxins. Walk away from the polluted air outside into a much healthier environment at work by:

  • Wiping dusty or dirty surfaces with water dampened cloths or non-toxic cleaning products.
  • Not smoking inside the office.
  • Getting rid of harmful substances and odors by using an air purifier.
  • During cold weather, keep blinds open to let the warmth in and during warm weather, keep blinds shut to stop the heat coming in.
  • Eating organic foods and drinks.
  • Taking the stairs rather than the elevator.
  • Going green literally by putting plants in the office. Plants absorb indoor air pollution and increase oxygen flow.

Other Materials

There are several materials in the office that impact the environment and be lessened to establish energy efficiency and a healthier atmosphere. Consider organizing a recycling station and encourage everyone to recycle their cans, bottles, and paper.

  • Stock the office with reusable/refillable pens and markers.
  • Bring your own durable, reusable water bottle.
  • Ban bottled water and opt for a stainless steel commuter cup.
  • Use containers and mugs that can be washed and used again.
  • Recycle plastic and glass bottles, aluminum cans and cardboard.
  • Recycle old equipment and furniture instead of throwing them away.
  • Bring your lunch in reusable lunch bags or plastic bags. Recycle these plastic bags.

The great thing about going green at work is that you along with your colleagues can make a lot of these changes by yourselves. You do not need to rely on management. Do your research and spread the word to your coworkers, bosses, suppliers and customers. Lower waste, emit fewer chemicals, and consume less energy and material use. In no time, you will be making a big impact on your work environment to benefit your health, the planet and costs.

Image Credit - blog.bayt.com

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