Sunday, October 14, 2007

Blog Action Day: "Greening Your Workplace"'s Greatest Hits

This post is in honor of Blog Action Day.

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day

But there really is a point in making even the smallest of changes. For example, if 20 employees turned off their PC during a lunch hour, your company would save over 3700 watts of electricity in just 60 minutes; that’s enough power to keep an energy efficient lightbulb burning for over eight and a half solid days! -"Green-up your workplace," Big Green Switch
Google "green workplace" and you'll get a lot of hits about ways you can do your part to think of the Earth at work. In a discussion with some techies from SEU and Dell about recycling, everyone agreed that while we were awesome recyclers at home, we were ashamedly not so at work.

Why? While we dutifully recycle our paper, plastics and glass at home, at work it can be more difficult and admittedly a bit inconvenient. Here at work we recycle paper, but to put your water bottle in a bin on another floor - and it's the only one in the building.

Without further ado, my favorite green workplace ideas inspired by Treehugger:
  1. At the end of the day, shut down computers - don't let it sit overnight or hibernate.
  2. Unplug what you can. Even when you have electronics turned off, they are still using energy so that they can come right back on when you tell them to. If this is a pain, at least unplug things you don't use often, like appliances.
  3. Purchase recycled printer/copier paper. Try to print on both sides of the page and always preview your prints to avoid accidental prints that waste paper and ink.
  4. If possible, consider alternate ways to get to work: carpooling, public transit, biking or walking! Executives: consider giving perks to employees who use alternate transportation.
  5. Try to organize a recycling initiative if there isn't one in place and encourage it's use. Make bins easily accessible to avoid the laziness factor, like bins in the break room and small paper recycling bins in offices.
I think the best list of the most useful and realistic ideas came from Suite101's "The Green Workplace" article, so definitely check this one out.

With a few changes, I think most businesses shouldn't have a hard time coming up with a feasible environmental policy that will contribute to smart usage and employee awareness. Even looking up these different tips has already given me ideas about making efforts here at work, and I'm sure I'll be further inspired by the thousands of blog posts that will be posted today.


kassie! said...

Good post, Megan.

I've become much more aware of my electricity usage once I left home and started paying my own bills. lol I'm sure a lot of us fall in the same boat. I always make it a point to unplug things I don't use and recycle all my paper. Every light bulb in my apartment was switched out to energy-saving light bulbs on move-in day. This is probably the easiest thing we can all do to save ourselves some money and help the environment.

Check out what Energy Star has to say about energy-saving light bulbs: If every American home replaced just one light bulb with an ENERGY STAR qualified bulb, we would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes for a year, more than $600 million in annual energy costs, and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of more than 800,000 cars.


Megan said...

Thanks for the link, Kassie. Have you noticed a difference in price since replacing your bulbs for the new energy-saving ones? Not only can we conserve energy, but we can save a little money too :)

kassie! said...

I couldn't tell you a real figure since I've been using these light bulbs ever since I moved out. haha Sorry!