How to Go Green at Work

Create a healthier workspace environment

If you’re already taking environmentally friendly steps at home, it’s a natural extension to take similar measures at work, both to save energy and to create a healthier workspace environment. Making the environment more pleasant for yourself, more energy efficient, and more eco-friendly will increase your enjoyment of the workplace and lessen its impact on the environment as a whole.

Being energy and resource efficient and conscious of improving the health and well-being of the work environment will also reduce the costs of running a business. It’s time to “go green” at work, and here is how.

1. Feel empowered. You don’t need to be management to institute change; your role as someone who cares about improving the energy efficiency and healthiness of your workplace is just as vital as those able to make the “big decisions”. In fact, change from the bottom-up is often a lot more effective as everyone has “buy-in”. And just because you don’t make the purchasing decisions, it doesn’t mean you can’t influence them. Do your research, point out the financial savings to management, and enlist the enthusiasm of your team members too. Find the information, show by doing, and create the momentum, all just because you care.

2. Conserve your computers energy.  For many people with desk jobs the computer is absolutely necessary to get things done. Yet, this “efficiency” comes at a cost – it is estimated that people waste over $1 billion in electricity every year just in computer use! To help conserve energy from your computer use, you can:

Invest in an energy-saving computer, monitor and printer – it’s easy to find these computers thanks to the Energy Star label in the USA. The energy savings rating is available in many other countries as well.

Switch to energy-saving settings – the Climate Savers Computing Initiative recommends these power management settings:

Monitor/display sleep: Turn off after 15 minutes or less;

Turn off hard drives/hard disk sleep: 15 minutes or less; and

System standby/sleep: After 30 minutes or less.

Setting the computer to sleep mode when you are away for short periods of time makes good sense. And don’t use a screensaver – these use energy rather than save it, and you are much better off relying on the power management features to power down to lowest energy use, or sleep mode. A computer in sleep mode can save 60-70% of power.

Turn off your computer whenever you’re not using it, especially when leaving work. And note that it isn’t true that turning your computer on and off will wear it out.

Switch to a laptop or a thin client. Laptops and thin clients use less energy than desktop computers.

3. Turn of all peripherals when not in use. Peripherals such as printers, video cards, speakers, and scanners continue to consume power even when not in use. Unplug them and save energy.

Unplug power adapters when not in use.

Unplug battery chargers and other chargers when the charging is complete, otherwise they are still consuming energy.

Using a power strip as a central turn-off point can reduce the number of switching off actions required.


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