Maximise the energy efficiency of your workplace
- Use the light coming through your window if possible and turn off office lights.
- Turn off all lights not being used (closets, unoccupied lunch rooms, etc.)
- Wear light colored, light weight, and loose fitting clothing
- Turn your thermostat to a warmer setting
- Use a tabletop or floor resting portable fan
- Clean your air conditioner filters on a regular schedule as the manufacturer suggests
Personal comfort during the cooler months. In the brief time we call winter here in Queensland, we can improve energy efficiency by doing many of the same practices as during warm weather with the following logical adjustments
- Be able to layer clothes, and wear heavier clothing
- Do not use a personal heater as they are not efficient
It is prudent to put your computer to sleep mode if you are away from your desk for more than a few minutes, and turn it off at the end of the day.Some systems are designed to send and receive information independent from office occupancy, and some systems are designed to back-up hard drives after hours. In these situations, more care is needed to designate which units must remain on at all hours and what scheduling can be adjusted to minimize the number of computers and monitors that need to be on. For example, lunch time can be designated as the time a primary computer can archive all connected computers for back-up purposes. Coordinate back-up scheduling with your supervisor or computer technology staff.
Efficient management of office appliances
Computers are only one of many office electronic devices that are not really off when they are off. As long as they are plugged in to a power outlet, many electronics still consume energy. There is no reason a coffee maker has to use energy once a pot of coffee is brewed. Coffee is best when it is served fresh from brewing. Failing that, it is better for coffee to be poured into a thermos carafe than to sit on simmer in an uninsulated glass brewing pot sitting on a warming plate. With all the clocks and watches available in the office, do you really need the microwave to tell you what time it is? Turn the power off to that device as well. This also applies to the copy machine. Your refrigerator should not be turned off if it is being used to keep perishable items from spoiling.
Because some appliances are not recommended to be plugged into power strips, the ideal situation is to have specially marked outlets connected to a circuit on timer mode that cuts all power to outlets for devices not needing to be on all the time. The best programmable circuits could include weekend hours, and the opportunity for a manual override (or simply plugging into an adjacent standard non-timed outlet) if the devices may be operated by employees working non-traditional hours.
Communications – electronic vs. paper
The computer revolution was supposed to usher in the age of the paperless office. That turned out to not exactly be the case. According to the Worldwatch Institute, in the past fifty years, the global production of paper has increased by 600%. Choosing recycled fiber content saves water, energy, and carbon emissions over choosing paper without recycled fiber content. It takes the same amount of energy to produce a ton of paper as it does to produce a ton of steel! Paper production accounts for the fifth highest industrial use of energy in the world. Think twice before printing out a document you have received electronically. Storage of digital information takes less energy and less space than storing the same data on paper. If you are not used to digital storage, you will need to learn some new habits of filing, organizing, and having “back-up” copies of digital information, but learning these habits saves resources over paper storage of the same information.
Recycle everything recyclable. Recycle empty ink cartridges, mobile phones, and even your batteries.
Be thoughtful in whatever your choices are small habit changes in the work place can make a massive difference to the planet and the electricity bill. Whether it is having a greener office space, or even choosing what kind of shoes to buy. hope this effort inspires the creative spirit in you to consider how even your everyday decisions affect life on the planet. No single thing you do will in itself make a large effect one way or the other, but there are millions of people in this country alone that cumulatively can make a difference. If you are surrounded in an environmentally responsible work environment, and make green choices in how you work there, it becomes more natural to extend the way you work into the way you live.