Some 45 million Americans have bid goodbye to the daily commute and started working from home at least once a week. While staying put and telecommuting is a great way to reduce fuel expenses, traffic time, and carbon footprint, there are still so many things that can be done to help the environment.
When working in an office building, someone else generally takes charge of the environmental details. However when you work in your own home, you make the decisions. Whether you’re working from home full-time, or are just using a home office after hours, here are some adjustments to make your working environment eco-friendly. But don’t limit yourself to these suggestions, there are many other ways to go green!
1. Change your lighting
Forget incandescent bulbs. It’s time to switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) for your overhead lights and desk lamps. CFLs may be more expensive than their counterparts, but they last significantly longer and are cheaper over time. Energy star estimates that each CFL can save you about $45. LED lighting is also an energy-efficient option, as it can last up to 40,000 hours and uses 75 percent less energy than incandescent light bulbs.
2. Select energy-saving devices
LCD monitors use less power and are better for the environment compared to CRT monitors. When buying office equipment, look for the Energy Star label. Energy Star products like printers, computers, and fax machines have eco-friendly features that can save electricity to light your home for years to come. As for laptops, check the Electronic Product Environment Assessment Tool (EPEAT) logo to identify sustainable ones.
3. Choose eco-friendly furniture
Natural wood or handmade pieces are some of the most environmentally friendly choices for your home office. They are manufactured with less energy and don’t contain any toxic materials. If you’re looking for functional, sustainable furniture that can also be used as art pieces, shop for antique pieces. Reputable online furniture shops like Antiques on Old Plank Road have authentic wood-crafted desks and quality shelves that your green office could use.
4. Power down
Many appliances use a significant amount of much energy even when they’re not being used. According to the Department of Energy, 5 percent of all the electricity in America is wasted on unused devices. So when you’re done working, turn off your computer and other office equipment. Rather than setting them to “sleep” mode - which still uses electricity - use a power strip. Plugging the appliances into one surge-protecting power strip will also make turning the appliances on and off a lot easier.
5. Go paperless
Eliminating paper from your office is the best option, but it’s not entirely realistic. The next best thing you can do is reducing your paper by digitizing your paperwork. Consider emailed invoices instead of paper alternatives and instead of faxing, scan the document and email it. Evernote is a great tool for in-office organization as it keeps track of your files. Reducing paper will also help you maintain a tidier desk, too!
Greening your office by buying environmentally friendly products is easy, but being green is more than buying products - it’s a lifestyle change. Making small changes in your behavior would count too.