10 Ways to be more green

There’s really no excuse to be wasting energy nowadays. Microsoft, of all people, have a quick and handy guide to things you can do to reduce your company’s carbon footprint and electric bill at the same time. Go to it.

Copied from the article which is roughly here.

1. Turn off the lights. Remember to hit the switch on your way out for that well- deserved lunch break. The energy savings from 10 million employees turning off unneeded lights for 30 minutes a day is enough to illuminate 50 million square feet of office space.

2. Get off mailing lists. The last thing you need is another office supply catalog or credit card offer on your desk. Before tossing out junk mail, call the company’s toll- free service number and ask that your name be removed from the mailing list. Have online retailers e-mail you instead. Almost half of all catalogs are never opened, yet nearly 62 million trees are destroyed and 28 billion gallons of water are used to produce them every year.

3. Put your monitor to sleep. Whether it shows off your vacation photos or a cool 3D animation, a computer screen saver is not at all designed for energy efficiency. It’s intended to save your screen from “burn in,” not to save energy. Because monitors are responsible for more than one-third of a computer’s energy consumption — even with screen savers — the best way to conserve energy is to set the monitor to sleep or power off when you’re away for an extended period. If you’re gone for 5-10 minutes, enjoy one of CI’s screen savers. Any longer than that, put the monitor to sleep.

4. Use the stairs. Your brain gets exercise all day, why not exercise your body? Get your heart pumping by taking the stairs instead of the elevator. It’s good for your health, and it saves electricity.

5. Make your printer’s toner last. Being cheap is a first date no-no, but it’s okay to be frugal at the office. When printing rough drafts or documents for internal purposes, change the printer’s settings to economy mode and avoid color if possible. Econo-mode uses up to 50 percent less toner and prints twice as many pages as other higher quality settings. Duplex printing also uses half the amount of paper.

6. Provide incentives for commuters. Free food and a year-end bonus are nice perks, but to really make workers happy, help ease their daily commute. The government rewards businesses that encourage their staff to carpool, bicycle, or walk to work under the Commuter Choice Program. Telecommuting and flexible work hours can also save employers by reducing absences and job retention costs.

7. Recycle and reuse paper. Americans toss out about 35 million tons of paper each year. Buck the trend and start recycling — not only standard white printer paper, but all of the magazines, manila folders, and colored post-it notes that decorate your space. If it tears, it can be recycled. Recycled paper manufacturing generates 74 percent less air pollution, and saves trees, water, and energy. To salvage papers that are printed on one side only, flip them over and use for incoming faxes.

8. Purchase 100 percent post-consumer waste, chlorine-free paper. Take note when buying paper — the higher the percentage of post-consumer waste, the larger the amount of recycled material is contained in the paper stock. This means that 100 percent post-consumer waste paper is made entirely from recycled products. Also, chlorine used for bleaching is one of the biggest polluters in the paper-making process. Choose non-chlorinated paper, which has the same quality as the bleached variety.

9. Recycle and reuse office supplies. Do as Mom says and clean your plate, literally. Washing and reusing the plastic dishes and cutlery you get with take-away food is an easy way to cut down on waste at work. Better yet, pack your lunch in reusable containers and pocket your hard-earned dollars! Skip the paper (or worse, Styrofoam) cups and refill your travel mug at the nearby coffee shop instead. It may even get you a discount. Besides aluminum cans and glass bottles, there are many other supplies stashed in and around your desk that are recyclable, such as batteries, printer cartridges, DVDs, CDs, and more.

10. Curb phantom electricity. Many appliances still consume energy even when turned off. Items left plugged into the wall, such as a cell phone charger or laptop adapter, can leak more than 20 watts of power. In the United States alone, “phantom electricity” emits roughly 12 million tons of carbon into the atmosphere. Avoid this by plugging office equipment into a power strip and turning it off at night and on weekends.

A lot of those apply to home life as well. One thing it doesn’t even mention is to actually turn off your computer when you go home at night – seems obvious – but I know of at least 2 companies that employ >1000 staff that do not insist that computers are turned off overnight. Ridiculous.

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