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Encouraging North Americans to Pollute Less, Consume Fewer Resources, and Use Less Energy since 2007.

(Better Late Than Never).
 
 

 

 

At the Office

Just because you are not at home does not mean you have to stop polluting less. Some of the ideas below have significant impact because we waste a lot of energy in the name of corporate identity and "professional" behavior.

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Level of Change

Telecommute instead of going to work Staying at home eliminates transportation costs and energy needs. It does however not reduce your heating needs since you will need to be comfortable at home. Telecommuting also requires a certain amount of additional energy to connect you with your office. If you travel far to get to work, telecommuting makes a lot of sense.
significant
Work fewer days at the office. Every day you stay at home reduces how much you pollute and it is more if you travel far to get to work.
significant
Carpool If a colleague drives by your place every day you might as well drive with him/her. Or they with you. In any case, driving one car to work pollutes less than driving two or more cars.
noticeable
Walk to work If you live close, walk to work. It is good exercise and you do not burn fossil fuels. And you car lasts longer.
significant
Bike to work If you live close but too far for walking, use your bicycle to get to work. It is good exercise and you do not burn fossil fuels. And you car lasts longer.
significant
Use public transportation to get to work Public buses, trolleys, subways, etc. are on the road even if you are not inside. So you might as well use them. Any of the public transportation vehicles create less pollution (when loaded with people) than your car (which is generally loaded just with you). In addition, public transportation vehicles often get the right of way or use express lanes. Less stop-and-go traffic means an additional reduction in pollution. And you can read while you commute. Safely.
significant
Avoid single-use cups and plastic ware – reuse or bring your own from home. Plastic cutlery is made from petro-chemical products. That essentially means it is made from oil. Maybe those plastic forks will be recycled for a while, but they usually end up in the garbage (that is the landfill for a few hundred years). You save the energy for washing the dishes and silverware, but you are forgetting the energy that is necessary to make plastic cutlery and paper plates every day.
not enough
Encourage others to bring mugs and "real" silver ware Not only does it pollute less, now several people are doing it.
not enough
Print only what is necessary to be printed. Print only what NEEDS to be printed. And then print it on recycled paper. Most stuff does not need to be printed. Keep it in electronic form. Stop printing the goofy stuff you find online. Show it to your colleagues on the screen or e-mail it to them.
not enough
Use wooden pencils, not plastic pens and markers Pencils are made from very few materials. Especially the ones without eraser. Wood, graphite, and maybe some paint. The wood is renewable. More importantly, pencils always work, never dry out, work upside down, in any weather, and have an unlimited shelf-life. Other writing utensils require much more energy to be made, are usually not recycled, and are often not reliable.
not enough
Use refillable pens, roller pens, fountain pens If you want to use a writing utensil other than a pencil, use one that can be refilled. That way you are keeping the part that is made from strong and long-lasting materials and are replacing just a small part of it (the cartridge). In case of a fountain pen you are only adding new liquid.
not enough
Use recycled paper for everything Paper that has a high amount of post-consumer recycled paper is made in part from paper that has been collected through the public recycling system. Fewer trees are cut to create this paper. Often this paper is also not bleached with toxic processes.
noticeable
Drink cold water tap-temperature water Drinking nice, macheine-cooled water SEEMS to be more refreshing. That feeling lasts a few seconds. What you body basically needs is water so you can sweat. You body does not care if it is tap-temperature. If you do not cool the water you pollute less because you use less energy.
noticeable
Turn down A/C For every degree you turn up the air-conditioners thermostat, you pollute less because your A/C has to work less hard.
noticeable
Work without air-conditioning A/C uses a LOT of energy.
significant
Build office buildings in a smart way. Keep the sun out during hot times, let the sun in during cold times. Don’t build office buildings like glass houses (which heat up too much during summer, and are difficult to heat during winter when there is no sun). Don’t rely on machines to keep you comfortable. Avoiding all this saves tons of energy and pollution. Sorry architects, a new look is required.
significant
Dress according to the weather. If it is hot, dress so that you are comfortable without air-conditioning. If it is cold, dress so that you are comfortable without much heating. The machines that cool or heat your environment create a lot of pollution. Learn to live without them. Or at least with much less.
significant
Change dress codes Long pants and suit jackets are too hot in the summer. Many materials do not allow your body to perspire well and you can only wear them comfortably if machines create the proper climate around you. Change or abolish dress codes that require A/C to be comfortable.
significant
Encourage your boss to loosen dress-code. It is cheaper (less money spent for energy) and it is cleaner (for the environment).
significant
Do virtual banking Avoid having bank statements printed and mailed. Look on internet instead and print at home if really necessary. Printing and mailing costs energy, resources for materials, and transporting those materials.
not enough
Use natural cleaning products The use of "regular" cleaners, air-fresheners, bleaches, etc. requires a lot of packaging. Those containers have to be made. The cleaners themselves are dangerous in our natural environment and often for you while you are using them. How dirty can it get at the office anyways?
noticeable
Turn off computers when not in use. If no one is using the machines turn them off.
noticeable
Turn off lights when no one is there. If no one is there you do not need the lights on. If you have the option to turn of your room light, do it. It probably does not make sense to turn of the lights for a whole floor just because you are leaving but will be returning in a few minutes. If you are the last one leaving though, turn it off!
noticeable
Turn off lights even if the tourist like to see the skyline. Tourism in your city may be a benefit, but creating a beautiful skyline at night is wasting a lot of electricity if no one is actually in the buildings.
significant
Find an new architect Finding an architect who can design office buildings that look great and impressive (or whatever you want) while using much less energy than other buildings means that you will pollute a lot less. A building truly to be proud of!
significant
Host your website through a web hosting service which uses wind and solar energy If you indirectly choose energy that is made cleanly you can reduce the pollution you would create if you used other web hosting services. They need electricity to run many computers and room air-conditioning to keep those machines cool.
noticeable
Refill printer cartridges Refilling the cartridges means that you are not wasting resources and embedded energy by throwing away the plastic cartridges.
not enough

 

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