Become an energy miser

Here's another excerpt from Saving The World At Work:

When you were young, your parents probably told you to turn off the lights. But now that you’re an adult, do you turn off the lights at work when you leave for the day?

According to a 2007 national survey conducted by Harris Interactive for Sun Microsystems, 92 percent of respondents said they turn off the lights when they leave a room at home, but only 52 percent said they do so at work. Dave Douglas, vice president of ecoresponsibility at Sun Microsystems, says, “Businesses don’t cut power consumption. People do. If you’re an employee . . . you have an enormous opportunity to make a difference for our planet.”

So turn off all the lights when you leave for the day. And don’t stop with the lights. Turn off computers, copiers, and printers in your cubicle and, if appropriate, your office. Each one of those devices, when left on standby or plugged into a power strip, drains up to seventy watts of continuous electricity. Recent research conducted by the EPA shows that you can cut your electrical consumption by 10 percent by powering off devices and turning off power strips. Some people believe turning everything off at night, and then back on the following day, wears out on-and-off switches. But according to Pat Turner, a facilities manager at the University of Maryland, “If you have equipment for more than ten years, this may be the case. But in reality . . . you change almost all of your equipment every few years, long before any on/off switches can wear out with overuse.”

Likewise, monitor and adjust your habits concerning heat and air-conditioning. The energy used to heat or cool buildings is a big driver of a company’s carbon footprint. Resist the temptation to crank up the AC or heater at work. Bring a sweater during the winter; dress light during the summer. On a hot summer day, draw the
blinds shut in the morning to keep the heat out. On a cold but sunny winter day, open them and let the sun heat the room.