Transforming your old workplace into an eco-friendly environment can seem a daunting task, but it needn’t be. There are many small, simple things that you can do at work to make your officeplace more sustainable and less wasteful without much effort or cost. Below are some small things that anyone can do at the office to make their workplace more environmentally friendly:
Utilize Natural Light
One of the easiest ways to cut down on electricity and carbon emissionns in the office is to fully utilize the natural sunlight streaming into your workplace. Open the blinds and flood your office with natural light as much as possible before turning on the flourescents.
Shut Off Office Equipment at Night
According to the Department of Energy, office equipment accounts for 16 percent of an office’s energy use. Simply turning off your monitors, computers, printers and other large pieces of office equipment will quickly reduce your office’s energy consumption, as well as cut costs. A 1999 study showed that 1 computer and monitor left on after business hours is responsible for power plants emitting nearly a ton of CO2 annually.
Regulate the Temperature
Heating, cooling and ventilating systems in offices account for almost 40% of total carbon dioxide emissions in the United States. By adjusting your thermostat a mere three to four degrees, you can cut your electricity bill by 10%! When the office is unoccupied, try turning off your heating or cooling system altogether. To ensure that the office temperature isn’t played with, consider buying a cover and lock for the thermastat.
Take advantage of the great digital communication tools now available, and cut paper use in your office. Email, instant message, and video conference coworkers instead of sending paper memos, files and notes around the office. About 40% (72 million tons) of solid municipal waste in the U.S. is paper waste.
Recycling office waste, particularly paper, is one the of easiest ways offices can cut back on carbon emissions. 2lbs of carboard and paper waste are produced daily from office workers in the U.S., with 10,000 sheets of office paper being used per office worker annually (totalling 4million tons). Where you still need to print and use hard copies, be sure to recycle the paper when it’s no longer needed. Providing small recycling bins for each office worker, as well as large bins in common rooms, will make it easier for employees to remember to recycle their papers and plastics.