Thursday, 10 January 2008

37 Ways To Live A Greener Life

I’m by no means an Eco-Warrior, and this list is by no mean exhaustive, but here are 37 ways that you can live a greener life.

Some of these methods may overlap into other areas of life, some of these methods are expensive, some of them are cheap, and some of them are free.

9 Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint in the Reprographics Room:

These tips are from this article – but I wrote it, so I’m allowed to copy it verbatim!

1. Use Recycled paper:
Don’t spend a fortune on HP or Xerox branded paper – buy recycled! The quality of recycled paper nowadays is excellent, and it obviously benefits the environment.

2. Do Copies ‘Back to Back’:
You know that ten page document that you are about to make ten copies of? Instead of using 100 sheets of paper, do it back to back, and you’ll only use 50. That’s HALF! Your paper stock will last much longer.

3. Make Sure Paperwork is Correct BEFORE Photocopying:
You rush to the photocopier with that urgent document, and punch in 50 copies. As you’re running back to your boss’ desk with it, you realise that the title is wrong. A few moments to check the document properly will prevent this type of waste – of time, money, and vital resources.

4. Any Paper that Gets Jammed – Dump It In The Recycle Box:
We all know that photocopiers jam from time to time – okay, okay, they’re jammed more often than when they’re working! But instead of furiously dumping the crumpled paper in the bin, furiously dump it in the RECYCLE bin. You know it makes sense.

5. Lighten the Contrast on the Photocopy:
Does the copy really need to be as dark as that? Lightening the copy by just a 25% will make your cartridges last longer – no, I don’t know how much longer, just longer. It’s obvious…

6. Recycle Your Toner Cartridges:
When you’re done with it, put it in a toner collection box. If you work in a big office, it will fill amazingly quickly. Then someone will come and collect it, and work magic with it so that it saves the environment…

7. Turn Off The Photocopier After Use:
What if you are the last person to use the photocopier today, and it’s only 2 o’clock? Are you going to leave it on for the next 3 or four hours, until the cleaners turn it off? Think of the energy that the machine is using up! Don’t be a muppet - Turn It Off!

8. Turn Off Lights When Leaving the Room:
If there’s no one else in the room, turn the lights off! Chances are there is enough light from the windows anyway, and if not, the next user will turn them back on… Let’s just hope that THEY remember to turn them off when they leave… Can you see the nice pattern developing here?

9. Do You REALLY Need to Photocopy???
You’ve already sent the email to everybody – they’ll bring a copy to the meeting – don’t photocopy it. You’re just not helping the environment…

12 Ways to Help the Environment At Work

1. Turn Your Monitor Off:
Okay, not during the day, dummy! When you finish work, do you remember to turn off your monitor before you leave? Or is it on standby during the night, using electricity?

2. Turn Off Desktop Printers:
How many times a day do you print? Or, more to the point, is it necessary to have your printer on all day long? In some cases, yes it most certainly is, so fair enough. But if you only print a few documents a day, why not turn off your printer between prints?

3. Turn Down Your Monitor’s Brightness:
Changing the contrast on your monitor can reduce energy consumption by 25%.

4. Send Your Monitor to Sleep:
Change your computer settings to make your monitor sleep during periods that you may be away from your desk.

5. Turn Your PC Off:
Even more effective than the previous point, why not shut down your machine entirely when going to lunch and having meetings. Using no power is better than using reduced power!

Tips for the Summer:

6. Don’t Shut the Blinds!
Well, not completely anyway. Instead, angle them to use those bright sun rays to light your office, eliminating the need for electric lights.

7. Have An Open Door Policy:
By keeping your office door open, air can circulate throughout the building, minimising the work (and power consumption) of air conditioning units.

8. Leave Windows Open Overnight:
Heat is stored during the day in the building. If it’s safe and allowable to do so, open the windows when you leave. This will cool the office for the next day, again reducing the burden on the air con system.

Tips for the Winter:

9. Don’t Obstruct the Heat:
Make sure that your heating systems can heat the building properly – so don’t block heating vents with filing cabinets, and make sure that radiator’s aren’t obstructed.

10. Don’t Use Electric Fan Heaters:
These are expensive to run, they interfere with the building’s climate control, and can cause fires.

11. Don’t Open the Window!
If you feel it’s getting too hot, don’t open the window – turn the heating down. If you’re not in control of that, get someone who is to do so.

12. Dress Properly!
It’s Winter. Not a good time for short sleeved shirts! Jumpers, tights, vests, thermals. You know the score.

6 Ways to Save The Environment Through Transport

1. Drive Economically:
Changing gear at lower revs reduces emissions. It also reduces how much you spend on fuel, which can’t be bad! You need to aim to change gear between 2,000 and 2,500 rpms, depending on your engine size. More info here.

2. Convert to LPG:
Cars that run on Liquid Petroleum Gas produce less emissions. More details here.

3. Buy a Hybrid Car:
Hybrid Cards run on battery power, and therefore are more environmentally friendly than ‘normal cars. The most famous hybrid car is the Toyota Prius. Details on hybrid cars can be found here.

4. Blow Up Your Tyres:
Make sure that your car is running efficiently. Low tyre pressure means more drag on the road, the engine then needs to work harder to pull the car, increasing fuel consumption and emissions.

5. Car Share:
Four people. One car. Much better than 4 people, 4 cars. It makes sense.

6. Get the Bus!
Rather than using a car, use public transport, if you have a good enough system. It’s cheaper than running a car, and environmentally friendlier, too.

10 Ways to Save Help The Planet At Home

1. Turn Off the Lights:
You ever drive by someone’s house, and all the lights are on? Why? If a room isn’t occupied, turn the lights off. Otherwise, it’s like Blackpool Illuminations…

2. Turn Off the Taps:
Brushing your teeth? Washing your hair? Doing the dishes? Is it necessary to have the water running all the time? If not, turn off those taps.

3. Have a Shower…:
… Not a bath. Having a shower uses less hot water than a bath. Of course, sometimes nothing beats a nice long soak… but at other times, a quick shower will suffice.

4. Use Energy Saving Light Bulbs:
The save energy, they last for absolutely ages – saving you money, whilst you save the planet.

5. Recycle:
So much can be recycled – tin, paper, plastic, garden waste – so start doing your bit.

6. Power Down Your Appliances:
Is it really necessary to have your TV, VCR, DVD player, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 AND Nintendo Wii all on Standby? Not really. Get them turned off at the plug.

7. Don’t Recharge Your Phone Overnight:
A mobile only takes a couple of hours to charge. Don’t waste energy by leaving it plugged in overnight.

8. Solar Panels:
Install solar panels to power your house, using natural resources.

9. Block Drafts:
Hot air escapes through gaps in doors and windows. Blocking these up keeps the heat in, saving power consumption of your heating system.

10. Keep the Heating On:
Does your heating kick in in the morning, then kick in again on the evening? You’ve probably got your thermostat quite high then, to warm the house. Instead, try keeping the heating on all day, but at a lower temperature. Your house will be warm all day, but using less power.

Got any more tips? Leave them in the comments.

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