9 ways you can make your business more eco-friendly and spend less

Everything is “green” these days. All the talk and marketing is “Go Green!” or ”We’re green!” Some companies invest in a whole interior and exterior lighting re-do, solar installations and so on.

Some companies, like R.K. Black, have replaced their entire fleet of service vehicles with hybrid automobiles and some of their diesel burning delivery trucks with CNG trucks.

But you don’t have to do that.

Because it’s Earth Day, here are nine simple and inexpensive ways to “greenify” your workplace:

  • PDF print. If you don’t need a tangible copy, let it remain electrons. Instead of selecting a printer when it comes time to preserve your final document, select “Print to PDF.”

  • Reduce your margins. Change your printing margin preference in Microsoft Word from the default of 1.25 inches to 0.75 inch. According to a study by Penn State Green Destiny Council, doing so could reduce your paper usage by 4.75 percent – and increase your profit margins!

  • Proof before you print. Use print preview and look for layout issues and typographical errors. Just take an extra moment to make sure that what you see in the preview is what you want to see on paper.

  • Print two pages to one sheet. In other words, on internal documents, duplex print your pages. This will cut your paper-use in half.

  • Shred and recycle your paper. Instead of throwing away your paper, shred it and recycle it. According to the University of Southern Indiana, each ton (2,000 lbs) of recycled paper you recycle saves 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil, three cubic yards of landfill space, 4,000 kilowatts of energy and 7,000 gallons of water. Pretty impressive, yeah?

Related: 5 ways R.K. Black Shredding saves natural resources

  • Put your printer to sleep. As most electronics, copiers and printers consume energy when they’re running. While reducing the amount of printing you do does decrease energy consumption, you can cut it even more by setting your device to sleep when not in use and when you’re away, like during weekends and holidays. Check your device manual and see how you can set up its “deep sleep” mode. A good practice is to let it sleep after 15 minutes of non-use.

  • Turn off the lights! In the same vein as the previous tip, save energy by turning off equipment you’re not using, including the lights — yes, even the ones in your workplace’s restrooms. But before you do so, make sure somebody else is not using them — unless you're a practical joker, of course.

  • Light with energy-light lights. Replace inefficient, energy hungry light bulbs with with more energy conserving CFLs and LEDs. Fun fact: According to Energy.gov, nearly 90 percent of the energy given off by incandescent bulbs is heat – wasted energy. That’s why it’s important to swap to lamp technology that uses energy more for providing light than heat, unless of course you're needing a heat lamp. 

  • Adjust your heating and cooling for costs and energy saving. During warm weather, set your office’s cooling system to 78 degrees Fahrenheit. During holidays and weekends, you might set it to come on when the temp climbs over 88 degrees. Generally, for every degree higher you set your thermostat above 78 degrees, you save six to eight percent off your energy bill, per degree. Conversely, in the cooler months, keep your thermostat at 68 degrees when you’re at the office. When you’re out, set your thermostat lower by 10 to 15 degrees, an action that should save your energy use by five to 15 percent annually, according to Energy.gov.

Happy green-ifying!

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