Any business can reduce the carbon footpring associated with its operation. Check out the 25 suggestions below for ideas on what to do:
1. Turn off equipment when it's not being used. This can reduce the energy used by 25 percent; turning off the computers at the end of the day can save an additional 50 percent.
2. Encourage communications by email, and read email messages onscreen to determine whether it's necessary to print them. If it's not, don't!
3. Reduce fax-related paper waste by using a fax-modem and by using a fax cover sheet only when necessary.Fax-modems allow documents to be sent directly from a computer, without requiring a printed hard copy.
4. Produce double-sided documents whenever possible.
5. Install displacement toilet dams in toilet reservoirs. Placing one or two plastic containers filled with stones [not bricks] in the toilet's reservoir will displace about 4 litres of water per flush - a huge reduction of water use over the course of a year.
6. Find a supply of paper with maximum available recycled content.
7. Choose suppliers who take back packaging for reuse.
8. Instigate an ongoing search for "greener" products and services in the local community. The further your supplies or service providers have to travel, the more energy will be used to get them to you.
9. Before deciding whether you need to purchase new office furniture, see if your existing office furniture can be refurbished. It's less expensive than buying new and better for the environment.
10. Use restaurants or caterers that use local food for any catered meetings or business lunches.
11. Incentivize your staff to use alternative modes of transportation to get to work or to telecommute to work some of the time.
12. Light with compact fluorescents – a 25-watt compact fluorescent produces as much light as a 100-watt conventional bulb for a fourth of the energy. EPA estimates that the savings will be on the order of 100 pounds of carbon dioxide per year. This is equivalent to driving a car 93 miles, assuming that it gets 24 miles per gallon.
13. Fix leaky faucets – a faucet leaking just one hot water drop per seconds costs 400 kWh and $31 per year.
14. If you do laundry as part of your business, use cold water – switch from hot wash/warm rinse to the cold/cold cycle. On a top loading washing machine for just two loads a week you can save 225 KWh and $22.50 per year.
15. Eliminate phantom energy loads – Use a power strip to conveniently turn off camera battery chargers and cellular phone chargers, which use standby power when not in use. Depending on the number and type of chargers 50 kWh and $4 per year can be saved.
16. If you have a kitchen area in your break room, air dry your dishes – letting dishes air dry instead of using the heat cycle on the average dishwasher saves 110 kWh and $8 per year.
17. Buy the most energy efficient appliances that you can afford. Look for the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Energy Star label, which provides consumers an easy way to select the most energy efficient appliances. EPA says that since the programs inception, it has helped Americans save $14 billion on energy bills and cut emissions equivalent to 25 million vehicles. The program evaluates and provides the projected energy costs on everything from DVD players to air conditioners. Visit www.EnergyStar.gov to learn more.
18. Reduce the indoor air temperature in the winter. A two-degree reduction in the temperature setting on your furnace cuts energy use by 1%, according to the EPA. Consider installing a programmable thermostat for your home furnace. Set the thermostat to lower the temperature for evenings and during the time you are at work. Public Service Company of New Mexico, PNM is offering a $25 rebate for Energy Star qualified programmable thermostats. Visit PNM’s website at http://www.pnm.com/rebates/home.htm
19. Turn down the thermostat on your water heater to 120o F. For every 10 degree reduction, water-related energy consumption is reduced by up to 5%.
20. Insulate your water heater tank. Unless your water heater's storage tank already has a high R-value of insulation (at least R-24), adding insulation to it can reduce standby heat losses by 25%–45%. This will save you around 4%–9% in water heating costs. If you don't know your water heater tank's R-value, touch it. A tank that's warm to the touch needs additional insulation.
Insulating your storage water heater tank is fairly simple and inexpensive, and it will pay for itself in about a year. You can find pre-cut jackets or blankets available from around $20. Choose one with an insulating value of at least R-8. PNM is offering a $10 rebate for water heater wraps. Visit PNM’s website at http://www.pnm.com/rebates/home.htm
21. Recycle! Yes, recycling reduces landfill gas generated by decaying matter such as newsprint and cuts down the industrial energy needed to manufacture new products. Recycling aluminum cans, for example, cuts the energy needed to make new cans by 95%.
22. If you own the building your business is in, consider installing either a Solar hot water system or a photovoltaic system. Hot water systems (solar hydronic) can be used for either just heating potable water or also for space heating if you have radiant heat. For new buildings it can be used for either radiant heat or some forced air systems. Photovoltaic systems take longer to pay themselves back but there may be grants available to you depending on your business.
23. If you don’t own the building your business is in or if you can’t afford the initial investment in a solar system, consider purchasing renewable energy credits. These can be purchased through a carbon offset vendor or through a program run by a utility such as sky blue through PNM, to offset part or all of your impact.
24. Educate your staff to be more green at home.
25. Purchase alternative fuel vehicles for your business.
If you can think of others, please share them with us at email so they can be added to the list.