Most of us, when we think about “going green” think of the things we can do at home. We set up clothes lines in our yards (and basements for the colder months). We wear sweaters in the winter, and spend as much time out of the house as possible in the summer.
We might even be saving up to install solar panels on our rooftops and have traded in our old cars for hybrids. It’s great that you’re doing these things at home. It really is! But why stop there? If you own your own business, you should be making the same effort in the workplace that you do at home. Here are some of the ways that you can do that.
Reduce Standby Surges
Standby surges, or standby power is the power that courses through our electrical outlets even when we’ve turned off our machines. If you have something plugged into an outlet, even if it is turned off–and this goes for power strips too–you are drawing power away from the grid and being charged for it. These machines and power strips are often called “vampires” by the energy department.
The easiest way to thwart the vampires is to simply unplug your appliances, power strips and chargers when you aren’t using them. You can also buy special power strips that are built specifically to send signals back to the grid when the machines plugged into them aren’t drawing power, to stop the flow of standby surges.
If you are lucky enough to live in a state with a deregulated energy market, shop around! One of the biggest benefits of living in a deregulated energy market is being able to choose your power company based on your own criteria. So spend some time researching providers in your area based on who offers sustainable energy for the best price. First Choice Power is an example of a deregulated sustainable energy company.
A lot of business owners will stock their breakrooms with paper plates and cups and plastic utensils. They do this because it helps reduce the amount of cleaning that has to be done to keep the break room or office kitchen clean and tidy. It’s better, though, to offer your employees lunch and, if they’re working late, dinner options. When you feed your people, they don’t have to bring in as much food from home. This reduces your energy consumption (via microwaves and dishwashers) and the amount of waste generated by your office (containers tossed out, those paper and plastic eating tools we mentioned).
The easiest way to do this is to set your offices up in a building that has a cafeteria already set up. You can also set up accounts or tabs with nearby restaurants and allow your employees to charge their meals to the company account. Try to set these accounts up with places that deliver so your employees don’t have to drive anywhere to get food. This way the restaurant is the one providing the eating utensils and you just have to provide trash cans and recycling bins for containers.
One of the most popular ways that offices are going green these days is by going “paperless.” Instead of having employees print out reports, shared materials, etc, employees are issued tablet computers and materials are shared digitally. Microsoft, Apple, Google–they all have programs that are designed to make tablet buying easier and more affordable for small businesses. This helps reduce your office’s paper consumption as well as reduces the associated costs of printing and copying (toner, maintenance, etc).
These are just a few of the things that you can do to reduce your company’s carbon footprint. Use them as a springboard to creating the greenest office possible!