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Started in Sydney, Australia in 2007, 24th March marks the annual event of Earth Hour. Founded by WWF and now a global movement, which brings millions together across the world to call for greater action on climate change. Everyone is asked across the globe to turn off their lights at 8:30pm (local times) for an hour to show they care about the future of our planet. From the Sydney Opera House and the Eiffel Tower to Buckingham Palace and Edinburgh Castle, cities, towns, and communities like yours across the world switched out their lights and came together for an hour, to join a global show of support for action on climate. You can see some of the extraordinary photos and videos captured this year on their hashtag #EarthHour.
This infographic shows the highlights from Earth Hour this year, 2018.
We asked a guest of ours, Barbara Herring to give us some tips to being more environmentally friendly and green in the workplace.
10 Effective Tips to Go Green at Work
Over the past couple of years, people have mainly been emphasizing so much about the need to go green mostly at home. Nothing has been said about the offices where most of us spend a good amount of time in. However, in recent times, a new trend is developing.
More and more people are being encouraged to put measures at their workplaces that reduce the carbon footprint. Any typical office is able to provide numerous opportunities for being green. This is something that will be very friendly to the ecosystem.
It could be adjusting the lighting system or using different supplies. There are these and much more. When doing so, you end up saving on operation costs while being more environment-friendly. If you are wondering where to start from, here are 10 tips to go green at work.
1. Switch Off Lights Not in Use
The lighting in most offices accounts for a bulk of the total energy consumption. Your workplace should therefore not have lights left on unnecessarily. There is absolutely no point in leaving the lights in the washroom or staffroom on the whole day.
Better still, you could use energy saving bulbs or the LED ones to conserve more energy. During the day, you can as well utilize the natural light by using light colors for the wall paints. These are glossier and reflect more light.
2. Use Green Printing Practices
This is one practice that is mostly ignored. If you want to go green in the office, insist on using recycled papers when printing documents that are not very official in nature. Alternatively, always print on both sides of the paper when it is possible to do so.
Another issue you can avoid is printing unnecessarily. If the work can be handled on-screen or online, then do so. Additionally, strive to print more screens per page. This saves on more paper as compared to a single screen. Lastly, if possible, use a multifunction printer that performs other tasks as well.
3. Turn Off Any Peripheral Not Being Used
Besides turning off the lights, devices and peripherals also need to be turned off when not in use. Scanners, speakers, video cards, printers, etc. continue to use power when on but not being used. Make it up to you to unplug these so as to save on energy.
Power adaptors, battery chargers all use power even after the devices have completely been charged. For a more efficient switching off and on, you can use a power strip to act as the centralized turn off point.
4. Manage the Office Supplies
For your office supplies, purchase green supplies such as pens that can be refilled in place of those that go straight to landfills after use. Another great tip would be to use the so-called staple-less staplers.
If it is possible, buy products made from recycled or post-consumer materials. You also need to eliminate those supplies without any green alternatives. Alternatively, recycle as many supplies as possible.
5. Manage Your Computers in a Green Manner
Turning off your computers when you do not need them will not hurt anyone in any way. And if you are not going to use the computer for a while, then you need to ensure they are in a standby mode.
This mode minimizes the power usage while saving you the time of switching them back on. Always strive to keep your computer components up to date with the latest technologies. Monitors that use less power continue to be regularly produced.
6. Go Digital When Possible
In the office, you need to ask yourself a couple of questions before producing printouts. Ask yourself this question; is it really necessary to print out copies of the meeting agenda for every member? Not really. Simply incorporate all these in a slideshow.
Or you could simply send it via mail. Manuals and any other materials could be posted online rather than being distributed as hard copies. Generally, strive to make the office paperless.
7. Allow for Telecommunication Once in a While
Is there any reason why employees cannot work from home? In the spirit of going digital, employees can have an opportunity to work from home and still be just as productive. Technologies such as video conferencing come in handy here.
By not commuting to work, various environmental benefits are realized. For instance, the air quality will be improved, employees will incur fewer expenses, and the roads end up requiring less maintenance. Alternatively, employees could travel green by avoiding cars and buses, plus the depressing traffic jams.
8. Consider Using Renewable Sources of Energy
Solar panels can be a little expensive to set up for your office needs, or they could be insufficient in a number of ways. However, once you have set the panels and the whole system is up, your office will enjoy the benefits of a green and environmentally safe operations.
Renewable energy provides your office with a long-term saving plan, and you will in no time realize returns on your investment. Better still, certain localities provide incentives to solar users as well as being able to sell their excess power to power companies.
9. Go Portable with Air Conditioners
In your office’s pursuit to keep temperatures down in summer, most people go for the centralized air conditioning system, which technically uses more power. Instead, you can use less money by saving on power by using the portable alternatives.
These options allow employees to control the temperatures of their workplace to a temperature of their choice. They can as well switch them off when not needed.
10. Incorporate Office Plants
Having a plant on your desk does not only make your workstation more appealing, but it also makes your work area greener quite literally. Research has shown that plants absorb pollutants around them and release oxygen into the area.
Office plants will, therefore, help to improve the air quality around you and make you breathe fresher air at work while in your office. This will make you more productive in the process. Just ensure you do not over water these plants, as you would be beating their purpose in the first place.
When choosing a plant, ensure it is office appropriate and would not look awkward after a while.
Going green is very possible in your office, as long as you have everybody in the office on board. The directive does not have to come from the boss. Even as an employee, you can set out and put these measures in place. If you are boss, ensure you get everybody on board and green the universe together.
The guest post was written by Barbara Herring, The Flix.