Five steps to a more sustainable office

May 23rd, 2014 | Posted by Kevin Corley in Workflow

If you are in the process of weaving sustainability into the fabric of your life, the workplace, where many people spend most of their week, is a great place to begin your efforts. Here are a few ways you can make your office more environmentally friendly and save the company some money.

Make responsible purchases
When buying anything from appliances to water bottles, there is a degree of choice involved in regard to the impact the product has had on the environment. According to the University of Notre Dame the energy it takes to produce a water bottle is equivalent to filling it a quarter way with oil, and it costs around 75 percent more than a water cooler. Additionally, Energy Star computers and appliances, meaning they were certified by Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy for their energy efficiency, will contribute to a more sustainable and cost-effective office.

Manage your computer's energy consumption
According to CNET, a running laptop can cost around 40 cents a day to run, while one set to sleep costs close to two cents daily. Paying attention to the energy settings on your computer at work can save the office significant funds annually. Energy Star lists the different settings and how they compare on their website. They are as follows:

Standby – If you put your computer on standby, it should wake up in a few seconds, according to Energy Star. Monitor and computer power use will drop to between one and three watts each and the electricity not used will save around $25 to $75 annually.

Hibernate – This will take a bit longer for your computer to wake up from, but in the event of a power loss, all your work will be saved. The watt usage and annual savings are equivalent to that of standby mode according to Energy Star.

Power down your monitor – This will drop your monitor's power usage to between one and three watts, but will save close to half the money – around $10 to 40$ yearly.

Consider your daily mode of transportation
REACH the Future, a community sustainability social enterprise, recommends a few options that will consume less fossil fuel and keep some extra cash in your wallet. Biking will save the most money, in addition to keeping you in shape, but a bike isn't always accessible or even easy to utilize in some areas. Other options include public transportation or talking to your coworkers about carpooling in order to cut down your office's environmental impact.

Recycling may seem as though it has been in the public consciousness for ages but many offices still have catching up to do. According to the Environmental Protection Agency paper fibers can go through five to seven cycles of recycling before they are too short to bond, in which case the can be combined with newer fibers.

Try going paperless
If you have been recycling for years, or you'd just like to skip it and take your office's sustainability to the next level, digitized document storage solutions and content management services allow for simple conversion to a paperless office. According to Forbes, conversion to a paperless office will save your company time money and natural resources. Take advantage of a conversion service in order to create a more efficient office with the extra benefit of saving money.

Carol Haeck, director of credit and billing for BlueGrace Logistics, speaking with Business News Daily, said, "Not only are we saving trees, but less paper is less pollution. And by emailing invoices, there is no courier driving and polluting the air from gas chemicals."

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