Written by Kimberly A. Phipps-Nichols |
The previous five issues were devoted to measures one can take to green a home or lifestyle, and here are some final tips for Greening the Workplace. Most people spend as many hours at work as they do at home, so the workplace is an incredibly important topic. To be “In the Green” in more ways than one, consider the steps below:
1. Turn off computers & printers. Even in sleep mode, they eat electricity. While it may be a small, latent amount, it is still consumption. A good rule of thumb: If you’ll be away from the computer for more than ½ hour, turn it off. Costs nothing and saves money, period.
2. Purchase post-consumer recycled content papers that do not use chlorine bleaches. After printing, return ink and toner cartridges to office supply stores or refill stores for reuse and recycling.
3. Print on both sides of each sheet of paper, and print only what is absolutely necessary. Scan and save documents rather than copying whenever feasible and legal. Send electronic invoices rather than print.
4. Install a water filter system at the kitchen faucet tap and provide employees with reusable cups and glasses. Avoid plastic bottled water – this is not only an environmental issue, plastic water bottles are now a health concern due to leaching of compounds.
5. Initiate a “green team” with various colleagues at work that support recycling, resource conservation and reuse ideals. The team can help remind co-workers and bosses of why these steps are important and ensure that the goals are not compromised.
6. Start car-pooling with coworkers, and ask if your employer offers public transportation or carpooling benefits. Many employers are eligible for tax breaks for providing public transportation and carpooling benefits. It also saves money on gas.
7. Recycle all acceptable containers and paper materials. Make sure there are not only bins in the break room, but that each workstation has a paper-recycling bin.
8. Eliminate “disposables” from office purchases. It saves money and reduces waste. Ask your office manager to consider providing new hires with a refillable pen and pencil set and a company logo thermal mug for their daily coffee.
9. When it’s time to replace the office equipment, purchase or lease Energy Star equipment. In an office environment, approved equipment can save hundreds to thousands of dollars in energy costs. www.energystar.gov
10. If your office is moving or remodeling, be sure to hire a licensed design professional that has documented experience in healthy, high-performance, environmentally responsible projects. The health and welfare of occupants should be their #1 goal.
3. Energy Information Administration www.eia.doe.gov
For more info, contact Kimberly A. Phipps-Nichols, President of Blue Water Studio, at (775) 560-2612.