Green Your IT Workplace

April 22, 2010

We’ve all heard this before: Computers, office equipment, and appliances are driving increased demand for more energy consumption both at home and at work. In a workplace dominated by Internet and information technology, taking steps to become greener is more crucial today than ever.

With commercial energy use increasing every year, there are several simple things we can do to reverse the trend. The thing is, environmentally friendly actions don’t have to be huge to have an impact. Consistently reducing the amount of energy, water, and paper our businesses use can make a huge difference, both to the environment and to our wallets. Needless to say, a greener workplace means a lighter ecological footprint and a healthier and more productive place to work. Whether you’re the boss or the employee, you can take steps in greening your IT workplace.

From saving on printing, energy and lighting, all the way even to food, becoming greener can be easy when it is broken it down in small, simple steps:

Paper and Printing

• Create hard copies only when necessary. If you can, go paperless. Storing your documents online makes it easy for you to update, and you waste no paper at all.
• For not-so-important documents (such as those you just need to review and keep a personal copy of), try double-sided printing.
• Communicate by email, and read messages onscreen to determine whether it’s necessary to print them.
• Use a fax-modem and a fax cover sheet only when necessary. Fax-modems allow documents to be sent directly from a computer, without a printed hard copy.
• Recycle toner cartridges and buy remanufactured toner cartridges for printers, copiers and fax machines.
• Switch to e-bills and e-invoices. You’ll be able to send and receive payments much more quickly while reducing paper waste.

Energy

• Choose products that meet credible environmental standards, such Energy Star or EPEAT. Environmental certifications on your appliances such as refrigerators, freezers, microwaves, toasters and coffee makers can make a big difference.
• Set equipment to go to ’sleep’ mode when not in use.
• Connect your office electronics to power strips and switch them off at the end of the day, or when not in use for a long period of time.
• Invest in LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) computer monitors.
• Recycle old or outdated electronics.

Lighting

• Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). They are 3-4 times more efficient than standard incandescent bulbs.
• Consider energy-efficient electronic ballasts. This will allow you to control workspace lighting.
• Maximize natural lighting and turn off lights when leaving a room.

Food, Plants, etc.

• Get indoor plants. They act as filters that suck up all the pollutants created by your computer equipment while also cooling the air in your office.
• Invest in a set of reusable coffee mugs, plates, and silverware.
• Provide organic, fair-trade coffee, tea or cocoa.
• Say no to plastic bottles.
• Use only paper towels and napkins with high post-consumer waste content.
• Encourage work colleagues to make lunch from fresh, local ingredients purchased from a farmers’ market.
• Use biodegradable soaps and recycled paper or cloth towels in the bathroom and kitchen.
• Provide biodegradable cleaners for your cleaning staff.

Finally, check out WasteWise. It’s a no-fee voluntary program run by the EPA. WasteWise helps you audit your office’s output of solid waste. They will also produce a report on waste elimination strategies specific to your own office environment.

It pays to consult with IT consulting experts on IT procurement services, and for keeping maintenance standards high in order to be more efficient, and thus environmentally friendly. IT specialists can also help you find more ways to go greener in your office. For all your IT consulting needs, visit Kadee Associates at 484-974-2319

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