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Be Green at Work

  • Make it a habit to turn off the lights when you're leaving any room for 15 minutes or more and utilize natural light when you can.
  • Make it a policy to buy Energy Star-rated light bulbs and fixtures (EnergyStar).
  • Install timers or motion sensors that automatically shut off lights.


  • Make it a habit to turn off your computer-and the power strip it's plugged into-when you leave for the day.
  • During the day, setting your computer to go to sleep automatically during short breaks can cut energy use by 70 percent. Remember, screen savers don't save energy.
  • Activate power management on your computer  (Energy Star Utilities for PC and Mac)
  • Make sure that old equipment is properly recycled.


  • Make it a habit to print on both sides or to use the back side of old documents for faxes, scrap paper, or drafts. Start an OSC (one-side clean paper) bin for your office. Avoid color printing and print in draft mode whenever feasible.
  • Make it a policy to buy chlorine-free paper with a higher percentage of post-consumer recycled content. Also consider switching to a lighter stock of paper or alternatives made from bamboo, hemp, organic cotton, or kenaf.
  • Recycle toner and ink cartridges and buy re-manufactured ones.
  • Use soy-based inks, which are less toxic.
  • Make it a habit to think before you print: could this be read or stored online instead?
  • Make it a policy to post employee manuals and similar materials online, rather than distribute print copies. They're easier to update that way too.


  • Make it a habit to recycle everything your company collects. Just about any kind of paper you would encounter in an office, including fax paper, envelopes, and junk mail... can be recycled. So can your old cell phone, PDA, or pager.
  • Make it a policy to place recycling bins in accessible, high-traffic areas and provide clear information about what can and can not be recycled.
  • Reuse items like envelopes, folders,paper clips and boxes for shipping.
  • Make it a policy to purchase office supplies and furniture made from recycled materials.


  • Make it a habit to bring your own mug and dishware for those meals you eat at the office.
  • Cut down on coffee cups and food packaging waste by brewing your own coffee, providing mugs, plates and bulk-size accoutrements (milk, sugar etc.).
  • Make it a policy to provide reusable dishes, silverware, and glasses. Switch to Fair Trade and organic coffee and tea, and buy as much organic and local food as possible for meetings and other events.
  • Provide filtered drinking water to reduce bottled-water waste.
  • Bringing lunch to work in reusable containers is likely the greenest (and healthiest) way to eat at work. Getting delivery and takeout almost inevitably ends with a miniature mountain of packaging waste. But if you do order delivery, join coworkers in placing a large order (more efficient than many separate ones). Also, bring in a reusable plate, utensils, and napkins.


  • Make it a habit to carpool, bike, or take transit to work, and/or telecommute when possible. If you need to drive occasionally, consider joining a car-sharing service like Zipcar
  • Make it a policy to encourage telecommuting and make it easy for employees to take alternative modes of transportation by subsidizing commuter checks, offering bike parking and showers/locker-rooms, or organizing a carpool board similar to the one on Blackboard.
  • Work from home- instant messaging, video/phone conferencing, online classes, etc.
  • Consider the possibility of working four ten-hour days instead of five eight-hour days.

Office Environment

  • Make it a habit to use nontoxic cleaning products. Brighten up your cubicle with plants, which absorb indoor pollution.
  • Start an environmental purchasing program. From cleaning supplies to pencils and pens, to furniture, most office supplies have green alternatives.
  • Make it a policy to buy furniture, carpeting, and paint that are free of volatile organic compounds (vocs) and won't off-gas toxic chemicals.
  • Not only is natural daylight a free source of lighting for the office, it has been proven to improve worker productivity and satisfaction. Workspace air quality is also crucial. Good ventilation and low-voc paints and materials (such as furniture and carpet) will keep employees healthy.

Start A Green Team

  • Get a group together to assess your office's current environmental performance, to recommend and put in place strategies to reduce your environmental footprint, and finally to enforce these strategies and monitor progress.

Audit Your Office

  • Energy Audit we mean. Whether you decide to consult professionals to do a formal audit (UI can perform an audit - UI) or conduct a self-organized assessment, performing an office or building-wide evaluation of your company's energy consumption is one of the most useful ways to identify core problems and potential solutions.

Get Others in on the Act

  • Share these tips with your colleagues. Ask your boss to purchase carbon offsets for corporate travel by car and plane. Arrange an office carpool or group bike commute. Trade shifts and job duties so that you can work four long days instead of five short ones. Ask the office manager to get fair trade coffee for the break room and make sure everyone has a small recycling bin so that recycling is just as easy as throwing paper away. Ask everyone to bring in a mug or glass from home and keep some handy for visitors so that you reduce or eliminate use of paper cups.