As the green movement has gained momentum over the past few years, so too has the rate of eco-friendly technological innovations. Even though past technology has, in many ways, impacted negatively on the environment, many innovators are now working to reverse this, and in some cases are even improving on old technology.
Here we examine some of these innovations, focusing on those that are accessible, easy to implement, and perfect for both large and small home-based offices.
It should be common knowledge by now that CRT monitors consume a lot of energy, yet you still find them in many workplaces. LCD monitors, in comparison, are 3 times more energy efficient, up to 80 percent lighter, and also result in less eye-strain. They can also be considerably cheaper to buy, leaving you with little excuse not to make the change. As with many appliances, look for the ENERGY STAR label to ensure it is energy efficient.
CFL Light Bulbs
Incandescent bulbs are as unpleasant as CRT monitors and should be replaced throughout your office space. Fluorescent, or CFL bulbs, will save energy while also giving off a larger light spectrum, resulting in a workplace that feels, and is, healthier and more pleasant. It is important to remember that CFL bulbs do contain a small amount of mercury and should not be discarded or recycled with your other trash. Instead you should take old CFL bulbs to designated recycling bins which will allow them to be recycled safely and with minimum impact on the environment.
The average home replaces 32 batteries a year, and with a home office, this number would only increase. Wireless mice and keyboards are powered by batteries, as is other office equipment, and replacing them constantly not only costs money, it also has a negative impact on the environment. Switching to rechargeable batteries will require an initial cost that is higher than regular batteries, as you are not only buying the rechargeable batteries but also a charger. However, the lifetime saving is much greater, as each battery can be charged and reused hundreds of times.
Smart Power Strips
How many ‘vampire’ appliances do you have in your office? Those appliances that are always plugged in and always ‘on’, even if only in standby mode? They are referred to as vampire appliances because each of them is constantly using small amounts of energy, even when they aren’t on. A normal printer can consume up to 20 watts of power in standby mode, and much more over the course of a year. Smart Power Strips help by sensing when an appliance is not on or in use, and then cutting power to it completely. Something as simple as this can result in a considerable saving in any office.
Depending on the size of your office, and how obsessive you are about energy consumption, energy meters can be very useful little devices for determining the biggest energy consumer. These small devices act as a bridge between your device(s) and the power outlet and can show exactly how much energy each device uses. It may not be something you use permanently, but it can certainly give you a good indication of which devices to use minimally, or even replace with more energy efficient models.
Going paperless will not only help the environment, it could also help you. A paperless office does not rely on one single device, but rather a collection of devices and services. These include:
- A good document scanner. Look at the various options, and get the model that suits your needs.
- A digital filing system. The document scanner might include this software, but it is always worth looking at other options too.
- An electronic fax service that includes paperless sending and receiving of documents.
- An off-site backup service. There are many options for this type of service, primarily cloud based.
The initial outlay will be offset by what you save in buying paper, not to mention time. You may even find yourself being better organized after going paperless.
Volatile Organic Compounds
Also known as VOCs, these are gasses that are emitted by paints and plastics, and are generally toxic. Known to cause various health issues amongst office workers, they are given off for many years after being manufactured. New technology has resulted in the development of items that are either low-VOC or no-VOC, and these products are healthier for you and the environment. They include paints, plastics and other manufactured items, and it is definitely worth considering using low-VOC and no-VOC items when you next refit your office.
There you have seven eco-friendly innovations and developments that you can implement immediately. Have you already started using any of these technologies, and if so, what impact has it had on you?
About Out of the Office Virtual Assistance:
At Out of the Office, we are committed to providing earth-friendly administration and offer ideas and ways to increase your productivity, decrease your workload, and work more efficiently. We nurture a successful business relationship, while continuing to grow as your business partner. We are focused on streamlining your administration, social media planning and execution, and offering creative solutions for your business success.
Interested in going paperless, contact us for a personalized coaching session!
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