WORKPLACE / JUL. 04, 2014
version 4, draft 4

Office “Big Spenders”

Offices aren't usually very frugal when it comes to any type of resources. The way in which they waste resources leads to serious costs and environmental damage. The consumption in offices increased over 65% since 1973 and it keeps on increasing. There are massive amounts of wasted paper, printer cartridges and energy that could be saved.

Energy and electronic equipment

One of the most important wasted resources of office "big spenders" is electricity. Most of it is consumed by illuminating, heating and cooling the office and by computers or other electronic devices.

The computers, printers and electronic equipment should be turned off during the night, weekend and any non-working days.

The lights should also be turned off when no one is in the room or if there is enough light. The regular light bulbs should be replaced with economical ones that work much longer and use less energy to produce the same lightning. Motion sensors are also highly useful for any rooms that are frequented rarely such as entrances, hallways or restrooms.

The members of the office can easily save electricity by being careful and by turning off electricity when it's not needed.

Heating and cooling

Energy saving measures can be easily applied when it comes to heating and cooling too. A thermostat is probably the most useful solution. You can set a certain temperature only when heating or cooling is necessary. The heating system won't automatically work all the time. Also, heating can be turned off in places that are not frequently used such as archives or hallways.

During hot summer days you could let fresh air by leaving the windows or the doors open, unless it is loud in your neighborhood.

Office materials

It's estimated that a regular office uses about 1000 A4 sheets each month per employee. Now that's what you call an office "big spender".

Paper and ink

When it comes to paper, it is mostly thrown away. There are too many unnecessary printed materials so paper and print ink cartridges eventually just go to waste, and it really hits your budget.

There are simple ways to cut down the paper and printer cartridges consumption. This won't only lead to reduced costs but also to a healthier environment.

  • Send emails and use print preview

You can send mails if the printed handouts aren't mandatory. The information will be available much quicker and won't easily get lost. The print preview option is very useful to proofread, save paper and ink cartridges. No need to say that you see mistakes that you can edit before you print.

  • Print smart

The employees should be encouraged to print on both sides and to edit the documents on the computer instead of printing drafts. All the reports can be easily prepared without printing them. If the documents are highly important, you can use the fast print option that saves printer cartridges. Preview the documents before printing them and only print when the document is final, after you've performed all the necessary corrections.

According to Ink Station average price for a printer ink is $30, now, multiply that with your printers and add another $30 for average box of paper and you will get a “big spender”.

Paper and ink are important for any business and we can't stop using it as we need business cards, flyers, and other promotional materials. All we can do is to find a way to squish the tap in the office.

Economy and ecology

You can find a lot of unused paper around the office, here is how you can use it:

  • Already printed papers or the ones that are only printed on one side can be used as drafts for different notes during the day.
  • All the paper used in an office could be collected in a special place and recycled.
  • You can even sell old paper and make some cash.
  • Each person can add a "green" message in the email signature encouraging the recipient to respect the environment and to print the email only if necessary.

With extra money you might hire new staff, invest in your business or take your employees on a team building event or similar.

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