The ‘Green’ Office
6. Provide employees with public transportation stipends. For those who prefer to bike to work, offer bike parking and showers.
7. Start a carpooling program.
8. Promote the use of energy-efficient vehicles, such as the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight. In select cities, car-sharing companies such as Zipcar (www.Zipcar.com) are available, in which members pay an hourly rate that includes gas, insurance and maintenance.
9. Offer employees the option of telecommuting.
The electronics-manufacturing process requires extensive electricity, raw materials and water. Electronics account for billions of pounds of municipal waste each year, many of which contain toxic heavy metals, lead, polychlorinated biphenyl, mercury, acids and other harmful contaminants. To reduce your impact:
10. Just say “NO!” to screen savers. Energy is conserved only when monitors go dark in standby mode.
11. Purchase all-in-one machines to reduce the amount of electronics needed.
12. Recycle/donate old machines. Find local and national recyclers at the Basel Action Network’s Web site (www.BAN.org/Pledge/Locations.html).
13. Use laptops instead of desktops. Because they often run on batteries, laptops are designed to use energy more efficiently.
Most electricity in the United States is generated by fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas and oil, all of which have extremely harmful environmental impacts such as air, water and thermal pollution. In addition, the burning of fossil fuels contributes significantly to climate change. Promoting an environmentally responsible office energy policy will go a long way to reducing both your impact on the environment and your energy bill:
14. Adjust the thermostat so the heat or air conditioning comes on less, and turn it off at night.
15. Install energy-saving lights.
16. Purchase energy credits to combat global warming from a company such as NativeEnergy (www.NativeEnergy.com), which funds renewable energy projects.
17. Unplug computers, lamps and other equipment with cords when not in frequent use. Equipment consumes energy even when it’s not actively utilized.