Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Greening your home office...

This article appears in this month's issue of Abode magazine. Check it out in the stands or at www.c-ville.com Resolve to turn your home office a shade greener this year with Better World Betty‘s help. The obvious green choices (installing CFLs or LEDs (expensive, but a write-off) or lowering and raising the thermostat) will cut energy costs, but what else?

Closing the office loop.

40% of municipal waste is still paper, so recycle and purchase only 100% post-consumer recycled content paper (available from Kinko‘s or Bailey‘s Printing if you outsource printing).

Why pay top dollar for new items when you can use UVA’s ROSE (recycled office supply exchange), Freecycle, or Craigs List, like Charlottesville resident Louisa Wimberger recently did for her home office. Recycling envelops, using a return address stamp instead of labels, and double-sided printing save green as well.

Did you know laptops use 50-90% less energy than desktops? Sleep mode (found in the power options or power management control panel) is a must. But don’t use screensavers; they gobble the monitor’s full power. Eric Gilchrist, head of Charlottesville Design Center’s SPARK! energy-saving program, suggests a power strip to shut everything down at the end of the day. This eliminates any phantom energy use (the small amount of energy used when things are plugged in).

Beyond your office, become an advocate, “Bug the companies you work with to offer greener products,” says Wimberger. And if you’re a true green office, include a conservation plug: “Think twice before printing this” or “Go green…read from the screen!”

Last thing: don’t forget to save old office items for local schools or charities. Your old ink-jet cartridges actually earn money for schools.

Check out www.greenoffice.com for more green office ideas.


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