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Tips for A Greener Office

2010-06-10

Green Office Solutions

"Green" is the new buzz word for forward-looking, sustainability. Large companies are building and renovating office complexes right and left to fit within the US Green Building Council's LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) parameters, sometimes just to get the label. However, greener options are available for every business and budget- it's not flashy, it is everyday sustainable working. Simple, practical changes can produce cost-saving solutions in this less than rosy economy. Potential energy-saving options are all around the office, the following are just a few sectors ready for improvement:

Lighting

Green office lighting replaces the energy expensive incandescent light bulbs with long-lasting, florescent or LED lighting. Better yet, whenever possible use natural day light or full-spectrum light to improve alertness and mood. And if the office windows open, give the air conditioning systems a rest and open the windows on nice days. Turn off what you do not need.

Computers

Computer are usually our primary tool at work, which means small adjustments can have a large effect. For example, change the sleep mode setting to a shorter idle time. Turn off the monitor when you know you will be away from your desk. Or for the most efficient time and energy savings, use power strips to turn all electronics off at the same time.

Printers

A large amount of waste in an office is created by superfluous printing. Affordable printouts can be created just by changing the printer settings. Selecting "draft" printer quality uses less ink for more pages of printout. And not every graphic needs to be printed with photo-quality pixilation or in color. Consider what you need to print versus what can be edited on screen. You can also cut and paste needed paragraphs into a new document instead of printing the entire work, for more affordable printouts. And always shred and recycle paper trash instead of sending it to the dumpster.

When the printer has run out of ink, consider using printer ink refills instead of buying a brand new cartridge. The price is in the packaging for print cartridges and even includes the costs to the manufacturer for recycling the cartridge. Using printer ink refills for a specific printer provides a cost-saving alternative to replacing the entire cartridge. Both black and color ink can be easily installed and cartridges can be refilled multiple times before needing to be recycled.

What are you waiting for?

Green options are easy to implement and provide sustainable solutions for both your budget and the Earth. When the incentives are aligned, what is the cost of not making changes in favor of a greener office?

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