Being kinder to the environment is an important responsibility that we all must be held accountable for. A good place to start is by adhering to the “Five Rs”: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Repair, and Rethink. From turning off the lights when leaving a room to turning down the temperature when everyone goes home for the day – you’ll be surprised how small changes can make such a big difference.
Going green is easier than you think, and doesn’t have to mean higher costs for the office. Follow these simple tips on how to be more eco-friendly at work, and never look back.
RECYCLE PRINTER CARTRIDGES AND TONER BOTTLES
After you refill the printer, make sure you put the empty cartridges to one side to recycle. By doing this you’re helping to keep millions of used printer supplies out of harmful landfills. Many manufacturers offer pre-paid shipping labels as part of their recycling schemes – so be sure to check with your supplier, or alternatively, find out where your nearest recycling bins are.
USE RECYCLED PAPER (AND RECYCLE USED PAPER)
Recycling paper saves trees, water, energy, and chemicals. So, make sure you have recycling boxes around printers, desks, and meeting rooms and try to print double-sided whenever possible. You should also make sure the company who provides your paper is an environmentally friendly supplier, they will usually be certified by forest management standards (the FSC or SFI).
INSTALL MOTION SENSORS
How many times a day do you walk around your office and notice lights on in rooms that aren’t in use? This problem can be easily solved with motion-activated light sensors, where a certain period of inactivity will automatically switch off the lights. Not only are you saving energy, but also cutting down costs on the electricity bill.
LET THERE BE LIGHT
More often than not, artificial lighting is unnecessarily used in offices on a daily basis, when really natural light from outside isn’t being fully utilised. Artificial lighting, on average, represents 40% of overall electricity usage. To combat this, make sure blinds and curtains are always open during daylight hours and that all lights are switched off when people go home for the day.
Surprisingly, one of the biggest uses of energy in offices are machines that are switched off but still plugged into a live outlet. Putting computers into standby mode is not only a huge drain on energy consumption but also largely unnecessary. Make sure to turn your computer off completely, especially before weekends and holidays, and make sure screensavers are on a short time limit or are disabled.
BE TEMPERATURE SMART
Make sure to set the thermostat to heat the office no warmer than 21 degrees in colder months and a minimum of 16 degrees when it’s unoccupied. This will not only help to conserve energy but will keep the overall temperature at a happy medium for everyone. It’s also a great idea to install caulking and weather-strips to windows and doors in order to minimise heat loss.
Have you got any eco-friendly tips? Let us know on Twitter @viking_chat.