August 10, 2012

7 Great Green working practices

Being greener at work means less impact on the environment, a more productive work force, and increased profits. Whether you’re the owner of the business or just an employee, whether your office is already green or becoming that way, there are steps you can take to lighten your carbon footprint. From telecommuting to investing in green technology, here are some ways to run a more environmentally friendly company. Use less energy at work.In many offices, computers are central; changing energy settings for PCs, printers and other equipment can mean modest energy savings. It’s also a good idea to shut them down at the end of the day, as standby mode draws power even when the computer isn’t being used. A simple way to save energy is to plug all computer hardware into a power strip with an on/off switch, to unplug appliances that aren’t used often, and to turn off lights when you leave the room.
Digitize your data: In the digital age, it seems counterintuitive for offices to consume large amounts of paper- especially as most of it only gets used once. The more you store your information online, the less paper you’ll need. Review documents as they’re on a screen, or send emails and PDF files rather than printing documents.
Make commuting more green.The average worker spends almost fifty hours per year commuting to and from work, adding up to billions of gallons of wasted fuel per year. Ease some of the environmental strain by carpooling, using public transit, or walking. Larger workplaces can benefit from programs which reward employees for getting to work in a green way, such as cycling. If getting rid of automobiles isn’t practical, consider switching to a hybrid, a scooter, or a car sharing service.
Take your work home with you, or change your work week. Unified communications, instant messaging, Skype and other tools make it easier than ever to telecommute. If it’s practical for your business, telecommuting will save time, and it will lessen harmful carbon emissions. Another good idea is to switch from the traditional five-day, eight-hour work week to a four-day, ten-hour schedule; it can save 20% or more in time and energy, and it offers employees a welcome three-day weekend every week!
Change your work environment.“Greening up” your workplace is simple- all you need is eco-friendly lighting and furniture, as well as clean air. Replace incandescent bulbs with CFLs or LEDs, or open windows to let more natural light in. Cleaner air makes for healthier employees; ensure adequate ventilation, and use low-VOC paints, furniture and carpets.
Green your lunch. If you pack your lunch, bring it in a reusable container. If you order takeout, get together with your co-workers and put together one large order rather than a few small ones. Workers that go out for lunch should walk or bike, rather than drive.
Get others thinking green, too.Share the above information with your colleagues, or ask your higher-ups to consider buying carbon credits to offset plane and car travel. Arrange office-wide remote working, or set up a group cycling commute. Get fair-trade coffee for your break room, and place recycling bins around the office. These simple tips can help your business do its share to make the world a cleaner place to live.

This guest post was contributed by Amy Fowler for Maintel, experts in unified communications and remote working technologies. Click here or here to find out more. Alternatively, you could 'like' their Facebook page.

Post by Guest Author - Amy Fowler

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August 01, 2012

8 Reasons Why Some Green Roofs Are White

The city of Chicago has been setting up what it calls “green roofs,” which is literally covering city rooftops in vegetation. While this may be a great idea for some buildings, it’s just not practical for all situations. How do you do maintenance on a building topped with greenery? It’s not nearly as simple as doing maintenance on one that is sans verdure.

However, a building surface that is both environmentally friendly and easy to care for is a cool roof. This option is both reflective and emissive, and it is specifically designed to be eco-friendly without creating an ecosystem on the roof itself.

Below are some specifications for this type of environmentally-friendly option:

  • A green roofing system will help keep those under it cool on a hot summer’s day.
  • It is made of vinyl and feather light, while traditional options can be quite heavy.
  • It can house solar panels—or, if you so choose, even rooftop vegetation.
  • They use green roofing materials that are 100% recyclable. There is minimal waste created from its setup, and the waste that is created is recycled back into building materials. At the end of the rooftop’s life, the whole thing can be recycled.
  • Eco-roofs have a longer life than traditional ones. Since a large portion of the damage done comes from heat absorption, and cool roofs absorb less heat, this building surface option will live long and prosper. With the appropriate maintenance (which really is just infrequent cleaning), it will last much, much longer than a traditional choice.
  • They have ENERGY STAR labels. This means that they are designated as a product that uses an amount of energy that is 20-30% below federal standards.
  • A sustainable rooftop will help a building earn a favorable Green Globe rating and a favorable Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating. These ratings can translate directly into more business for you and your company.

To be environmentally friendly, the top of your building does not actually have to turn the color green. Many of these surfaces are actually white, which is the color that is most reflective and emissive. These white materials are highly sustainable, adaptable and recyclable, like those that are made by quality companies, such as Duro-Last Roofing. This makes them the ideal choice for people who care deeply about the planet, their city and the bottom line.  

Laura enjoys writing about green living. If you'd like to learn more about Duro Last, please visit http://www.duro-last.com/

By Guest Author - Jessica Lane

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