1) Turn off computer monitors on lunch break, and turn computers off entirely when heading home.
Most offices come equipped with desktop computers and monitors. These types of computers are more durable and cost-effective to own and maintain than its more mobile cousins, but it comes with the increased cost of more required accessories and a higher amount of required energy to run the machine. In particular, you have to run the computer and the monitor at the same time, which stacks the energy use even more than required. So, if someone’s office is not able to use the more energy efficient cousins, what can one do to lower energy use?
Quite easily, it seems: When you're going to be away from the computer for more than 20 minutes, turn the monitor off. Turning it on or off, contrary to popular belief, doesn't shorten the life of the electronics in question. And if you are going to be away from the computer for more than 2 hours, turn the computer off. So when it's time to close up for the day, shut it down and forget about it until the next day. Also, make sure to ditch the screen saver.
2) Stop wasting paper by going paperless, be it a memo or a manual
For documentation that can be shared easily, requiring them to exist in paper form makes the paper and the files redundant. Many of the paper-based things like memos and training manuals could be transferred from a paper source to an electronic one, making them easy to keep on ones computer workspace and become accessible that way. In addition, by moving these things to electronic format it decreases the amount of paper used by the printer. It works to do two things: it drives down operational costs of the office as a whole and allows for less paper to be used and wasted. This especially helps when the office is connected together via e-mail, where computer calendars and memos can be shared instantaneously from within the mail service. Use this, and bask in both more efficent use of electricity and the saving of paper.
3) Thermostat programing shenanigans
This last bit is small, but for an office where several people work in a small space, this is both an issue of comfort and eco-savings. A programmable thermostat in the office space should he held at a single point, preferably a point agreed to by those who work within the office. And if it were programmable it can set the temperature for when people are not in the office. It wouldn't need to run at all during off hours, allowing energy to be saved and the office to be greener as a whole.
These are just three things that could work for making a small office green. There are many more small green projects that can be implemented to ensure an office is as eco-friendly as possible!
This article has been written by Anna Maria, who is a small business CRM consultant.
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A study from the University of Chicago published late last year, found the health care sector in the United States accounts for nearly a tenth of the country’s carbon dioxide emissions.
According to the study, health care in America, including activities such as hospital care, scientific research and the production and distribution of pharmaceutical drugs, was found to produce 8 percent of the country’s total carbon dioxide output despite accounting for 16 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product.
Researchers attributed hospitals’ high-energy demands to their constant need for temperature control, ventilation and lighting.
Certainly it takes some forethought and planning for hospitals and health care organizations to strike just the right balance between being environmentally responsible and providing life-saving medical care. But there are ways hospitals can do both and many are starting to take steps in that direction.
More than 1,000 health care providers and systems have joined Practice Greenhealth, a group for organizations in the health care community that have made a commitment to sustainable, eco-friendly practices.
Health Care Without Harm is an international coalition of hospitals, health care systems, medical professionals and environmental health organizations working to implement ecologically sounds and healthy alternatives to health care practices.
The U.S. Green Building Council now offers a LEED for Healthcare Green Building Rating System focused on inpatient and outpatient care facilities, long-term care facilities as well as medical offices, assisted living centers and medical education and research centers.
The USGBC collaborated closely with the Green Guide for Healthcare, a sustainable design toolkit specifically for health care facilities.
Some of the ways health care office and centers can go green can enhance employee satisfaction and patient care. One example is selecting more environmentally friendly cleaning products – there are products that will disinfect and sanitize but without the use of chemicals (which can be problematic for sensitive patients).
Also, hospitals can incorporate green design and energy savings into their construction or remodeling projects. Making use of natural light and adding plants or a small atrium not only saves energy but offers a soothing environment for patients and visitors.
And certainly simple steps like recycling paper and cafeteria food selection (think: organic and local) can make a big difference.
As we’ve addressed on this blog several times, many of these green practices translate into business savings and with the cost of health care services steadily rising that seems like something everyone can support.
We’d love to hear from you – do you work for a health care facility that is going green? What steps is your company taking and how is it working?
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The Environmental Paper Network is taking steps to improve both recycling efforts as well as the manufacturing of recycled paper. The network is a diverse group of environmental organization joining forces to support environmentally sustainable policies and efforts within the pulp and paper industry. This latest initiative, called the RePaper Project, not only has a goal of increasing recycled paper, but also creating “social conditions that spur technological innovations and create sustainable job markets.”
The primary objectives of the RePaper Project , which includes on its steering committee the As You Sow Foundation, Conservatree, Green America, Green Press Initiative and the National Wildlife Federation, are to:
• Increase office paper recovery rate from 50% to 75% by 2015.
• Increase post-consumer recycled content in printing and writing papers from 6% to 15% by 2015, and 30% by 2020.
• Increase awareness of recycled content printing and writing papers.
Key to the effort will be educating businesses on how they can get involved, both in using more post-consumer recycled paper and in recycling much more of the paper they do use. And certainly part of this effort can be about teaching people to think before they print, so printing isn’t the norm but rather an occasional necessity.
And don’t forget the financial component (always appealing to your CFO).
• Print on both sides of the paper. There, you just cut your paper purchasing costs in half.
• Only print when necessary – make use of pdfs, e-mail, file share sites and e-faxing. There, you just cut the paper purchasing in half again.
• Reuse paper that looks bound for the trash. You can easily turn half sheets of paper into scratch pads to jotting down notes and phone numbers. There, you just saved more money because you didn’t by notepads or those “while you were out” message pads.
• The RePaper Project Web site has a number of resources, including the “Office Paper Recovery Guide” targeting office managers.
• The California Integrated Waste Management Board also has a Web site filled with posters and stickers that promote reductions in paper use. (one of the posters is pictured)
• The Environmental Defense Fund’s “Action Guide to Greener Paper” is a few years old but still has many relevant tips and ideas for cutting paper use.
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As we look ahead to the coming year – and coming decade – it’s clear the environment will continue to play a large role in business decisions. Businesses are finding green pays. While certainly a responsible choice, environmentally friendly decisions often save businesses thousands – and sometimes millions – of dollars. Adding those kinds of numbers to the bottom line is tough for an owner or executive to ignore.
Even small changes like printing less or using both sides of the paper can help a company cut down on office supply costs. Giving employees the opportunity to telecommute can increase productivity and may even be a boost toward retaining employees – another cost savings by not having to hire and train new employees.
Beyond those kinds of internal savings, companies also find going green meets consumer demand. Customers expect companies to at least make some effort toward protecting the environment and often a company’s level of green can determine where consumers are shopping.
Green technology will continue to thrive in 2010. Just this year on this blog, I wrote about Sprint and Samsung’s eco-friendly cell phone as well as green computing and server options.
Just take a look at the Consumer Electronics Show coming up next month in Las Vegas. The major tech event of the year, it features a Sustainable Planet and Greener Gadget space for exhibitors to showcase sustainable products.
Finally, expect to see employees getting more involved in creating green workplaces. A majority of the green office initiatives start from the bottom up. Employees can have tremendous influence in creating a green office environment. Again, those small steps can add up, giving senior management proof that going green works for the environment – and the bottom line.
Let us know what you anticipate in 2010 – whether it’s green efforts in your own office or tech trends that you expect to make a surge this year.
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But one businessman has found a way for consumers and businesses to keep their cars clean without the waste. In September, Pierrick Bouquet (pictured) opened Ecolo Green Car Wash using environmentally friendly products and only enough water to fill a single glass to wash vehicles.
Here’s how it works: Ecolo-Car is a water-based product that blends coconut soap and an organic polymer. Ecolo-Car is sprayed on a vehicle and the organic polymers dissolve, lifting the dirt from the surface. The residue is wiped off with a microfiber cloth, the surface is buffed and the car is clean. (Check out the company’s YouTube channel for video demonstrations.)
Based in Newport Beach, Calif., Bouquet primarily works with large businesses, going on site to those companies to wash employee or business vehicles. Bouquet says he plans to expand franchising opportunities next spring and also is trying to take his Ecolo products nationwide (currently you can purchase the products from the Web site). He’s also is looking into commercial car wash locations near supermarkets and shopping centers so people can leave their cars to be cleaned while shopping or running errands.
Originally from France, Bouquet got the idea for Ecolo Green Car Wash while vacationing there and hearing about the popularity of green car washes in Europe. He researched the market in California – which is in a drought condition – and decided the state was ready for his water-saving business.
The term “ecolo” is shorthand for "écologiste,” which in French means someone who lives a sustainable, eco-friendly lifestyle that has a minimum environmental impact.
A typical Ecolo car wash costs $17 to $20 for the two most popular services, but it’s done on site so it saves customers time. Plus, consumers know they aren’t wasting water. And some of those profits benefit the larger mission of water conservation. Ecolo Green Car Wash has partnered with Water Education Foundation, a nonprofit with the mission of helping resolve California’s water crisis by raising awareness.
We give a big Green Thumbs Up to Bouquet and Ecolo Green Car Wash for saving millions of gallons of water. We hope to see green car washes like this springing up around the country.
For the latest updates, follow Ecolo Green Car Wash on Twitter.
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