2016 has come and gone- and I’m not sure anyone will miss it (how could you have taken Bowie!?), but now it’s time to look ahead to a brighter future- here’s to 2017 being a banner year! And while the United States will still be figuring out where it stands on climate change and the Paris agreements, we spoke with Ryan Sands who has implemented several successful eco-friendly policies at his office which you can also initiate at your workplace!
SS: Ryan, what are some easy ways we can cut down on waste in our office?
RS: You know the first thing I always tell people, and I know it may sound cliché (which it is but people often don’t do it) is to simply power down your computers, printers and other peripherals at the end of the work day. I see co-workers all the time merely turn off their monitor for the evening while leaving their computer running all night. Yes, some equipment does have sleep modes, but those aren’t always a default setting.
RS: I’m also a huge fan of LED and halogen lights. While they may be a little bit more expensive, the lifetimes of these lamps will burn up to 2.5 times longer than their incandescent and fluorescent counterparts. Not to mention, personally, I think their quality of light is much nicer and much less green in hue.
SS: One pet peeve I have is seeing paper go to waste- do you have any tips that can cut down on the amount of printing offices incur?
RS: In our office, in one of the paper trays in our printer/ copier, we strictly use recycled paper from our previous print jobs. Obviously, this paper is meant for internal use only, and our clients never see it. But conversely, if you do need to print for clients, ask if their copies can be double sided- that’s one of the quickest ways to reduce paper waste.
RS: I’ve also heard of companies requiring any and all print jobs to be in smaller fonts with margins adjusted to maximize space on the page. Honestly though, I think the most efficient way to cut down on clutter and wasted pages is to go as digital as possible. Before a meeting, email the agenda or whatever materials will be required and reflect on whether you really need these things printed on physical paper.
SS: Is there any thing even easier than this? Any kind of passive energy savings tips you can offer?
RS: For sure! For those of us who can’t find the time to actively cut down on waste, I say install motion sensors in your office space! This is one initiative we have followed through with and it’s drastically cut down on our energy costs- why keep a room lighted if no one is even inside of it?
SS: Any final thoughts?
RS: One policy that I’d like to see more of, and I really think we will in this next year, is more tele-commuting and remote work. While it may not be feasible for every industry, allowing employees to work from home can not only reduce the energy strain of individual offices, but also helps to reduce pollution from traditional modes of transportation.
Here’s to a greener 2017!