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Best Ways Office Employees Can Reduce Their Carbon Footprint

(and why they should care)

By Ryan McNeill

If you’re the kind of person who showers in solar-heated water and drives a Prius (but only when you really can’t take your bike), you might think you’re doing your part for the planet. But what about your carbon footprint at the office?

Many of us spend half our waking hours at work, so it makes sense to be as environmentally vigilant there as we are at home. The catch is that our co-workers and bosses may not be as eco-savvy as we are — and may actually be skeptical of our office-greening efforts.

Trying to get everyone at the office to share your green views may be futile. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get them to switch to eco-friendlier habits. The trick is to persuade them by showing the benefits they can reap. You can often link environmentally-friendly changes to personal benefits You will almost certainly get the attention of your office manager or company owner when you show how much they can save with simple changes in procedure and equipment.

Here are some good ways to get everyone in your office to reduce their carbon footprint, along with reasons they should care (beyond saving the planet):

  1. Bike or walk to work: Cycling and walking are great exercise and let you start work feeling energized, plus it lets you blow off work-related tension on the way home. They’re also great ways to lose weight. If you let your commute take the place of a before- or after-work workout, it won’t even take extra time out of your day.
  2. Carpool: Everyone loves to save money on gas, so starting an office carpool could even turn you into a hero. An added benefit is employees who carpool get to know each other better.
  3. Telecommute: While not every job lends itself to working off site, working part or all of the time at home is a popular option for those who can. It saves commuting expenses, offers a more relaxed working environment, and allows employees to be productive even when they’re not feeling well or have to stay home with a sick child. Need to convince your boss?  Point them to the research. Many studies have shown that telecommuting actually boosts productivity and employee retention.
  4. Choose energy-saving technology:  When purchasing new equipment, go with Energy Star-rated computers, energy-efficient bulbs, and other efficient devices. To maximize savings, set computers to hibernate after 15 minutes of inactivity. Office managers can also encourage employees to turn off desktop monitors when leaving for a break.
  5.  Power down equipment when not in use: The typical office can realize significant savings by turning off equipment — including computers, printers, lights, and coffee machines that won’t be used for a few hours. Plugging multiple machines into a power strip can make it easy for the last person out to shut down with a single flick of the switch.
  6. Reduce printing: The price of ink alone may be enough to get your manager to agree to go paperless. It will also reduce paper costs and having to store and retrieve bulky paper documents. Another little known fact:-Old paper can be highly irritating to the lungs, so going paperless could significantly improve the air quality in your office.

Next time you find yourself cringing at the wasteful practices you see at work, speak up! Hopefully, your concern for the environment will be enough to get your co-workers to change. If it isn’t, ask yourself these two questions: who can change this, and why should they care? If you can present the right people with reasons they actually care about, you’ll be amazed how fast things can change!

Ryan McNeill is the president of Renewable Energy Corporation (renewableenergysolar.net) and is an expert in the solar and alternative energy industry.

Source: U.S. News.com bit.ly/1tVeUbj

 

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