Purchasing eco-conscious products for your home or business is a great first step in sustainability. And there are so many other ways to be green every day. We've gathered some useful tips for you, your family and coworkers to practice at home or around the office.
Turn off lights when they are not in use, and install sensors in offices and conference rooms. You can also reduce heating and cooling costs by adjusting thermostats in unused rooms, especially during off-hours at the office. Perform an energy audit to uncover key-energy and cost-saving opportunities, such as improving attic insulation, air sealing and installing CFL bulbs. You can also enable power management on technology around the office.
It's one of the best ways to reduce your environmental impact and save money, too! Purchase gently used furniture and toys from thrift and antique stores, online retailers and others. At the office, remember to print on two sides and reuse scrap paper whenever possible. Set up areas for free exchanges of unwanted office supplies, furniture and equipment. You can also donate unwanted items to local charities and organizations.
Replace your traditional cleaning products with eco-conscious alternatives made without harsh chemicals. There are so many options available today that are just as effective, plus they reduce the impacts on indoor air quality and chemicals on surfaces.
In addition to choosing fuel-efficient vehicles, opt to take public transit or carpool. Try to consolidate errands, reducing multiple trips and added miles. Take your most fuel-efficient vehicle on longer trips, and use a GPS to avoid getting lost when heading to new locations.
Recycled-content paper, toner cartridges, recycled desk accessories and furniture products typically have reduced environmental impacts and deliver great quality as well. When it comes to paper products, look for post-consumer recycled content of 30% or more. And for technology, make sure it's ENERGY STAR® qualified. Purchasing furniture that incorporates recycled content, or has environmental certifications like Indoor Advantage, Green Guard and Cradle to Cradle, is a great way to help, too.
Conduct a waste audit that will help focus efforts and determine which waste items can be reduced through simple changes or recycling. Today, every office should be able to economically recycle mixed paper, cardboard, bottles and cans, cell phones (free programs exist), rechargeable batteries and office technology.