Guest post by Elli Bishop, community manager for BusinessBee
According to Mashable, from 2009 to 2010, Canon massively overhauled its use of energy at five of its offices in the U.S. They reported saving 2.7 million kilowatts of energy, and in the two-year period from 2008 to 2010, they reported saving more than $300,000.
Large corporations aren’t the only ones to jump on the greener office bandwagon. Mid-sized and small businesses are also finding ways to make their offices more efficient, more environmentally friendly and more cost-effective.
Here are six ways businesses can start rethinking their office operations and move up to a greener office overall.
1. Monitor paper use and recycle paper after use. To reduce a great deal of office paper usage, print double-sided whenever possible and recycle paper by using backs of used paper for less important documents. Buying recycled paper and using paper recycling bins for used paper also protects the environment.
Reams of copy and multipurpose paper cost anywhere from $40 to $60 per 10 reams, and color copy paper can reach as high as $100 per four reams at Office Depot. Recycling this paper saves a significant amount of money in the long run.
Employ non-paper practices by setting up certain documents and procedures on computers and online using spreadsheets, Google Docs, Dropbox and other document-sharing services. Accepting online payments through an online store or PayPal can also help reduce costs.
2. Set computers to sleep when not in use. Computers are a necessity when it comes to most modern businesses, and they can use an enormous amount of energy. However, there are ways to reduce some of a computer’s energy usage. The easiest way is to set the computer to sleep mode when the user is away for even short periods of time. It is also important to not use a screensaver, which, despite its name, saves nothing in terms of energy.
When the computer is not in use, particularly when the user is leaving for the day, the computer should be shut down entirely and even unplugged to save still more energy. All of this reduced electricity usage lowers the overall electricity bill each month.
3. Reduce energy use of peripheral electronics. Unplug all devices when not in use. This includes scanners, printers, speakers, microphones, etc. Buy all-in-one machines to save energy and money. Imagine how much energy can be saved by getting rid of a giant copy machine, printer or scanner in lieu of a desktop all-in-one printer-scanner-copier. Offices also save money by purchasing an all-in-one model rather than three separate machines.
Unplug all battery chargers, such as phone chargers, when the battery is fully charged. Using less electricity in all of these ways saves money on the monthly utility bill.
4. Switch out light bulbs. According to an infographic from Mother Nature Network, lighting accounts for around 35% of electricity usage in U.S. offices. Switching out incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs is a surefire way to save energy and save money on bulb replacements, as they last up to 13 times longer.
5. Use Energy Star qualified products whenever possible. Energy Star rates many different types of office equipment as the best products for saving energy. Laptops and computers, monitors, printers, thermostats, lights and water coolers all have versions that are Energy Star approved.
6. Work from home. Telecommuting is a trend in businesses who are trying to save money by having a smaller office or not one at all. Working from home means less people driving to the office each day, which saves money on gas and reduces auto emissions and energy consumption.
These are just a few of the many ways that offices can reduce their energy consumption, save money and become a greener office overall. If more businesses adopt these practices, who knows how much of the environment and energy consumption can be saved for the future.
About Elli Bishop
Elli is a writer for BusinessBee, where you can discover and compare business service providers for your small business.