Tips for an Energy Efficient Office


Whether your office is located in a high-rise building downtown, or next to your kitchen at home, there are steps that can be taken to make the most of the energy that your desktop consumes, and to still keep your surroundings looking good.

The first step is to take advantage of your computer’s Energy Savings function (in Mac OS –> System Preferences, Windows XP –> Properties –> Screensaver –> Monitor Power). Although it is something that we all think we do enough already, shutting down your monitor when you’re not using it can drop your energy consumption from 72 watts down to 3. The cost of running a computer system at its fullest potential adds up to thousands of dollars in a year! Imagine how much power and money you could save by setting your computer to Sleep whenever you leave the room.

The next step is to reduce the number of files on both your hard drive, and e-mail in-box. Although this doesn’t seem like it would make much difference, a full hard drive consumes more energy to perform simple tasks, and web pages reading Mail servers take longer to load if your inbox is full. Regularly cleaning all of your computer space will help speed up your life, and reduce the amount of power you go through to do it.

The last computer tip should go without saying, but we all fall victim to neglecting even the simplest ideas now and then: turn off your speakers and printer when you’re not using them! The energy that is used by these devices to stay on standby-mode can amount for nearly as much as your computer. So next time you are in the market for a printer, pick out one with an Energy Star rating, and keep your auto-off lead time as low as possible for the times when you forget to hit the power button.

Now for a few tips to turn the space around you a little greener…

Try and reduce the amount of paper that is used on your desk, or your employees’. Keep everything electronic when possible, and when you do need to print something off, make sure you are using recycled paper. 40% of the world’s industrial logging goes into making paper, and by choosing to use recycled paper, you can save at least 30,000 litres of water, and enough energy to power an average home for one year (source: A Local Printer. A small effort really can make a big difference.

If you are working in an area that gets a lot of natural sunlight – great! The reduced cost for lighting and heat in the winter is already making a difference. But what about in the summer time when the sun just adds to the existing heat? Take a look at Silver Screen Heat Reflecting Shades. This environmentally friendly product drastically reduces the amount of heat that shines into your office through your windows, and during the winter, reduces the amount of heat that is let out. These translucent shades are much nicer to look at than traditional office blinds, and serve your office much more than by just blocking out the sun.

And finally, our last tip for the day…

Bring in some plants! Having plants indoors has been proven to decrease stress, increase productivity, improve attitudes, and of course improve air quality. From the University of Vermont:

Studies in Texas, Washington State, and England showed that employees in environments with plants were 12 percent more productive than those not exposed to interior plants. Visual exposure to plants helped to reduce blood pressure, and to lessen stress within five minutes. Perhaps some of this arises from the reduction in office noise with the use of plants, another factor well-documented in studies. For instance, a small indoor plant hedge around a workspace can reduce noise by five decibels.

We hope that you’ve enjoyed our first of 5 Earth Week specials. Let us know what you thought, and make sure to come back tomorrow to find out the Ideal way to make your Kitchen greener!