Turn off at the switch. Your laptop doesn’t need to be plugged in 24/7, and leaving the charger in the wall with the power on will increase your electricity usage. Turn off chargers, appliances such as kettles, and other equipment like printers. Make sure all computers are turned off at home time. Check the plugs before you leave to make sure things aren’t plugged in overnight using unnecessary electricity and costing you extra money.
Go paperless. We have a whole article dedicated to this, which you can read here,but in summary: encourage emailing, use scrap paper for writing things down, store invoices and accounts online, try to avoid printing, and if you must print – do it double sided.
Use recycled materials for your packaging. If you pack products then use recycled and recyclable materials for your boxes, wrapping and so on. For printers, use remanufactured cartridges instead of originals. They are much cheaper and better for the environment too.
Consider your lighting. Switch to energy efficient bulbs, keep blinds and curtains open instead of turning on the lights, or just use a desk lamp in the evenings.
Water can also be very expensive, and water scarcity is becoming a major problem. Don’t waste this precious resource. Make sure to fix any leaky taps, and don’t allow taps to be left running. Consider installing motion sensors for your taps to reduce water consumption. Turn down the temperature of your water heater – keep it as low as you can in order to meet the needs of your business.
Climate control can be expensive. Africa can get very hot, so we see the appeal in air conditioning, but first try opening windows or using a fan. In the winter wear extra layers and keep doors and windows closed to retain the heat. Also keep the curtains or blinds open during daylight hours to let the sun warm the room. If you really need to use air-con or heating, do it sparingly. Set the thermometer to room temperature (around 24 degrees or so) rather than very hot or very cold, and don’t use the air-con overnight when nobody is there. Either turn it off manually or set it to turn on and off at pre-selected times (and temperatures!).
Tell any suppliers that you are interested in buying “green” products and reducing your carbon footprint. Buy products that have been recycled or refurbished. You can stretch this as far as your office furniture as well – buy secondhand, or furniture made from biodegradable or recycled materials.?
Book your seat here for the Green Business Seminar taking place at Sustainability Week on 25 June 2015
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