Eco-Friendly Office: 10 Small Things You Can Do at Work to Help the Environment

The environment is struggling. For too long we have taken from the Earth without giving back. The time to sit on our hands is over. In this post I want to look at some very small and simple things you can do at work to help the environment.

Small things you can do at work to help the environment

Small things add up. If 100 people do 100 small things it starts to make a big difference. Please read these tips and then forward them to your friends and co-workers.

Let’s see if we can make a difference. These tips are not hard to implement.

1. Turn off your lights
Lights are the biggest killer of energy in the corporate world. Massive buildings like the Empire State Building have millions of lights and they leave them all on, all night. What a waste.

The simplest thing you can do to help the environment is turn off your lights when you don’t need them. When you go out of the office for lunch or to the toilet turn your lights off. This makes a huge difference.

An average globe uses 60 watts in an hour. If you turn that light off for one hour a day you will save 22,000 watts of energy in a year. If 1000 people do it – we’re making a difference.

2. Switch to compact fluorescent lamps


Creative Commons License photo credit: mikefats

These bulbs are the spiral ones as opposed to the traditional round light bulb. Using one of these lasts as long as SIX traditional globes and saves up to 75% of the energy. They cost a bit more off the shelf but save heaps in long term costs. Easy.

3. Change from Google to Blackle
Google has a white background. Most websites do. However, we spend a lot of time on Google. Most people have Google as their homepage. If Google made their homepage black instead of white it would save thousands of tonnes of greenhouse gases every year.

Blackle is an alternative to Google. It is powered by Google so you get the same searches; its just black. Switch to this.

4. Turn things off at the power point
At the end of the day we usually just turn things off at their console switch instead of reaching around and turning them off at the power point. Most people do not realize that a lot of power is wasted when you leave the power point on.

I was once advised by my local power supplier to turn things off at the power point for one month and see if my bill was smaller than usual. It was significantly smaller than ever before.

5. Don’t throw out printer cartridges


Creative Commons License photo credit: k0a1a.net

The toner that you use in the printer shouldn’t get thrown out. Printer cartridges are designed to be refilled. Refilling them is cheaper than buying a new one.

At my university there is a massive box next to the printer. Every time a printer cartridge runs out they throw them in the box and then once a month get them refilled. They are saving a lot of money and also not sending thousands of reusable plastic items into landfill.

This kind of system is going to save a firm a lot of money. Perhaps putting this idea to your boss could win you some brownie points!

6. Catch the bus to work
There really is no advantage in driving to work unless you have to leave and come back during the day. The bus is cheaper and it is much better for the environment. Each car that you take off the road saves thousands of pounds of greenhouse gases ever year. By catching the bus you will be saving money and helping the Earth.

I quite like catching the bus. It is a very humbling experience as you get to meet lots of people, see lots of things and get over the personal stigma of “only poor people catch the bus”. This is a mental trick we should all try to work with.

Here is another post we did on things to keep your entertained on the bus.

7. Clean your Air Conditioner filter
If you live somewhere hot like Australia the air conditioner is always on at work. Something you can do to save a lot of power is replace the filter (or clean it) to make sure that it is not struggling to operate and is running at peak efficiency. Again, a small tip but one that makes a difference.

8. Turn your A/C down one degree
Every degree that you turn the air conditioner down saves a lot of energy. It really is amazing the amount of power you save if your a/c is set to 18 degrees instead of 16 degrees. In fact, if you set your a/c to three degrees higher you will save over 400 pounds of carbon dioxide per year. Remember, you don’t need to be frozen on hot days, you just need to make yourself comfortable.

9. Make sure the work kitchen fridge is not leaking
Fridges that leak air out the side because of poor seals waste a lot of energy. Be the one to glue it back on or if the job requires more attention submit an anonymous complaints saying that the fridge is a safety concern and needs to be fixed before the authorities are notified. This should get management off their butts!

10. Don’t eat meat for lunch


Creative Commons License photo credit: VirtualErn

Many people are not aware that the meat industry causes more damage to the environment than all the cars and airplanes put together. The massive amounts of land that are cleared for farming, the food produced for the cows to eat, the trucks needed to move them around, the gas that the cows fart out… it is all very bad for the environment.

Try eating a vegetarian meal a few times a week. You don’t have to eat some hippie meal like tofu – just have a spaghetti napoletana or some other risotto without meat. Have a salad or some nice vegetarian dumplings from China town. The list is endless.

Any other environmentally friendly ideas?

I would love to hear all of the idea you guys have about saving energy and helping the environment around the office. If you have something… anything… leave us a comment.

Creative Commons License photoTop image credit: [Re_Writer]

5 thoughts on “Eco-Friendly Office: 10 Small Things You Can Do at Work to Help the Environment

  1. Great blog! All of your tips are really simple yet effective. Another tip: Offices can also use OpenEco.org to track their usage along with seeing the progress and goals of other offices- just another small way to curb energy usage and reduce carbon footprints.

  2. Great article… and don’t forget the benefits that planting a tree will have on the environment. Each one will soak up 20kgs of CO2 every year and put enough Oxygen back in the atmosphere to support 2 people.

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