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10 Easy Ideas for Making Your Office Green
Going green in the office is getting easier and easier each day. New products and services are constantly coming on the market to help you develop an environmentally friendly office. Below we’ve outlined some of the easy ways we and our partners have been able to make our offices greener and more environmentally friendly.
What gets measured gets managed, and GreenPrint helps your measure and reduce your printer usage. The software helps you reduce your consumption of paper, ink, and electricity. The company, which counts Staples, Xerox, and Prudential as its clients, has versions for both office and home use and claims to help companies save an average of $80 to $120 per employee per year.
Reduce margin sizes. With tradition 1” margins, you’re using 63% of the available space on the paper. Reducing that to 0.5” would increase your usage by a whopping 25%! Additionally, changing font sizes, line spacing, and even font can help reduce your paper and ink usage. Don’t believe us? Well, one teenager calculated in a science project that if the U.S. Federal Government used a different font, they could collectively save $370 million per year due to reduced ink usage. For more ideas on greening your printing and copying activities, check out this handy guide from the EPA.
Want a quick way of cutting your paper consumption in half? Set up your print settings so that they automatically default to printing double sided. Make it so that employees have to manually choose single-sided if they really want single-sided.
Even when your electronics are turned off, they’re still using power. In fact, energy consumption from devices in standby mode typically accounts for 5 to 10% of your office energy usage and about 1% of total annual carbon emissions. That’s where smart power strips come into play. They sense when devices are in standby mode and cut the power supply off.
Ditch the disposable cups, plates, and silverware and encourage your team to bring in durable items from home. If everyone has their own and is responsible for washing their own things, you’ll greatly reduce waste, cost, and restocking headaches.
Install motion-sensing light switches and thermostats, especially in conference rooms and meeting rooms. If nobody is in them, why use energy to light them and run the HVAC system?
Choose reusable or refillable over disposable. Instead of tear away paper for brainstorming, how about whiteboards or IdeaPaint? Instead of disposable pens and pencils, how about ones that take refills? Need some ideas of what you can buy as refills instead of disposable? Simply type in the word “refill” into the search box of your preferred office supply vendor and see what they sell.
Developing an office recycling program starts first with having recycling bins. But even more important than having the bins is making it easy to find the bins. Are your recycling bins located next to all of your trash bins? If not, employees might need to put in more effort to recycle. In the rush to get that TPS report out the door, they might just take the easier route and throw recyclable items in the garbage. Make it easy for them to choose the green option.
Replace incandescent light bulbs with lower voltage options. Take note though that not all energy efficient lighting options are created equally. Do your research to make sure that your investment will have a positive impact. The folks over at Precision Paragon and Earth Easy have some wonderful educational material to help you make your choice. If you’re looking to make an easy switch by replacing traditional light bulbs, check out the energy efficient lightbulbs being developed by Finally. According to their calculations, their light bulbs will save you 76% off of the energy cost of a tradition lightbulb and will pay for themselves in 18 months.
Producing new, pristine white paper products from raw materials requires using a significant amount of environmental-polluting chemicals and natural resources. The best way to reduce the environmental impact of your paper consumption is to use recycled and unbleached paper products. Dolphin Blue has a great selection of green office supplies and WBMason.com has an entire section of its website dedicated to green office products. You can also do well if you search for “recycled” on your preferred vendor’s website. Lastly, here’s what you can find on Staples.com and Officedepot.com.
What have you done to make your office more green? Please share your ideas below. We can all learn something from each other.