Creating a Green Workplace

Most of the changes that you can make at home you can make at work, too. Your boss or manager may be more receptive than you think to your thoughts about energy-saving changes. Be sure you know your stuff (you're already one step ahead by picking up this book). Explain that taking these kinds of measures can be great for the company's environmental stewardship and can help save money.

Here are a few extra ideas that can help reduce the energy impact of your workplace:

I Go for energy-efficient equipment. Purchase the most energy-efficient models available when ordering new office equipment, such as photocopiers, printers, and computers.

I Install a motion-sensor that activates your office's lighting. It can help cut down on emissions, automatically shutting down when no one is left in the office.

i Use paper conservatively. Print double-sided and on 100-percent postconsumer recycled, Forest Stewardship Certified paper. One company that made the switch to fully recycled paper calculated that they would prevent 14.2 metric tons of carbon dioxide from being emitted into the atmosphere every year. Imagine if every company and organization did the same!

i Get the windows in on the action. If your workplace is one of the few remaining with windows that open, use them wisely. In the summer, leave them open overnight if you can, which can help keep the workplace cool. But when the nights are chilly, make sure someone shuts those windows before you go home. If your business is considering renovations, suggest an upgrade to more efficient windows, such as double-paned ones.

Relaxed dress code, reduced greenhouse gases

Toyota Motor, Japan's biggest company, had more in mind than happy employees when it told workers to forget about wearing jackets and ties to work for the entire summer. Office buildings were able to turn their air conditioning up a few degrees because people were dressed a little lighter. This idea has now caught on around the world. Don't be surprised if the sweater Grandma knit you becomes office dress code come December.

Part VI

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