Give less “Stuff” – Instead of more potential landfill, give people experiences or services – tickets to an event, a meal out, a certificate for a massage. When you do give objects, wrap them in recycled wrapping paper tied with ribbons, so that the receiver can use the paper again.
Use more natural light and remember to switch off lights and equipment when not in use. To cut out the human element, install automatic PC shutdown software and movement sensors to make sure lights are in operation only when needed. (Lighting an average-sized office overnight wastes enough energy to make 1,000 hot drinks.)
Smart Heating and Cooling. Take a fresh look at the way your company heats and cools its premises, and suggest ways to save energy and money. Don’t heat or cool storerooms and corridors unnecessarily, and switch from rigidly seasonal heating to a “”smart”” program, which reflects the prevailing temperature and is turned down at weekend, at night, and on holidays.
Low-energy commuting. Ask your employer to help workers use less energy for their commute by organizing car-pool programs, encouraging employees to work from home, providing showers and bicycle storage, and gradually reducing parking spaces.
Place recycling bins in your office for separating paper/ plastic/ aluminum/ glass/ cardboard. In 2006, it took more than 17 million barrels of oil (excluding the oil used in transporting the plastic) to produce plastic bottles. (Recycling a single plastic bottle can conserve enough energy to light a 60-watt bulb for up to six hours.)
Conduct a carbon audit if your company is at a less advanced stage to help quantify the nature and scale of its impacts. This should look at in-house energy use (by means of energy monitors on different types of equipment and analysis of energy bills) and other CO2-generating activities such as travel, catering, and ordering office supplies. Specialist foot printing organizations can help with all the carbon counting.
Once your organization knows the nature of the challenge that it faces, it needs to agree on a series of meaningful goals and put together short- and long-term action plans for achieving them. Successful corporate energy-saving programs tend to do the following:
Clearly communicate the practical benefits of saving energy, using simple, memorable messages displayed consistently across a variety of media, including posters, company website and bulletin boards.
Encourage suggestions from employees at all levels, so that the whole workforce has a strong sense of involvement.
Recognize and reward employee participation.
Provide regular updates on progress
Hold special events, such as open discussion forms, employee awareness days, and interdepartmental energy-saving competitions.
Form an environmental team in your company to create awareness programs/ activities and celebrate Earth Day every April 22 and World Environment Day on June 5.
Computers — Make your next computer a laptop — it will consume up to 90% less energy than a desktop computer.
Green Roof – More and more companies are creating “”green roofs”” by planting their roofs with vegetation. Green roofs provide excellent insulation. The plants absorb solar radiation, which stops it from entering the building — this is particularly desirable in cities, where the “”heat island”” effect can raise local temperature by up to 10%. They also reduce storm-water runoff and provide habitats for a broad range of plants and creatures. These are only 10 ways you can make a difference in your company, but there are many more ways you can green your building – check out www.leed.com for more information on how you can achieve a LEED rating.