Green is Good
And, going green at work is easier than you might think, especially when you consider that every day there are more and more “green” products available.
Inside this catalog, you’ll find nearly 2,500 environmentally friendly items from the Office Products, Technology, Furniture and Jan/San categories…everything from paper to cleaning supplies, and furniture to electronics…all with environmental benefits. In fact, every product presented on these pages meets one of the following criteria:
- Recycled materials, with emphasis on post-consumer content
- Compostable or biodegradable
Going green means making everyday choices and performing everyday actions that have a positive impact on the environment as well as the bottom line. So, whether you’re just getting into the green or you’re interested in taking it to a new level, inside you’ll also find helpful tips to put to work.
Spend Smart on Green
The purchase and use of environmentally-friendly products can have a big impact, and not just on the environment. Buying green affects everything from worker safety to the bottom line.
- Products that are reusable, refillable, more durable or repairable create less waste and are more cost-effective in the long run than disposable or single-use products.
- Manufacturing recycled products uses less energy than goods made from virgin materials. Buying recycled products keeps recycling programs going and saves natural resources.
- Using energy-efficient and water-conserving products saves money and resources.
- When making purchasing decisions, it pays to do a little homework. Consider the following:
- Is the product less hazardous?
- Is it reusable or more durable?
- Is it made from recycled materials? Do we really need to buy a virgin product when the recycled version is just as good?
- What happens to the product at the end of its life? Can it be recycled? Will the manufacturer take the product back? Will it need special disposal?
- Does it conserve energy or water?
- Is it made from renewable plant-based raw materials?
Leave a Big Mark—Not a Big Footprint
Living and working green means knowing your carbon footprint and taking steps to balance its impact. Offsetting your company’s carbon footprint is the fastest and most economical way to help protect critical forests worldwide, which is one of the most effective solutions to climate change. One way to offset your carbon footprint is to support renewable energy (energy generated from renewable sources such as wind, solar and geothermal) by buying renewable energy credits (RECs).
Additionally, utility companies may work with industrial and commercial consumers to implement on-site energy-efficiency measures which can decrease usage or shift a portion of it to off-peak hours and rates.
Be a Star—Buy Energy Star
The next time your office is in the market for computer equipment, printers, fax machines, kitchen appliances or even light bulbs, look for the Energy Star certification. Energy Star products are among the top energy performers on the market. One example of why is that some Energy Star products power down automatically when not in use—conserving up to 75% of electricity compared to standard models. They reduce pollution, lower energy bills, generate less heat and have a longer life span than other equipment. See www.energystar.gov for more information.
Of the $250 billion spent per year on powering computers worldwide, only about 15% of that power is spent computing—the rest is wasted idling. 40% of the energy used for electronics is used while these devices are turned off. Obviously, just because a device is turned off or not in use, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t eating up electricity. In fact, even when a computer is switched off, the surge protector can still draw energy—up to 75%!
- Programming your computer to sleep after 30 minutes of non-use can cut power demand by up to 90%.
- Stepping away for longer than 30 minutes? Turn the computer off and unplug the surge protector. (Booting up again uses the equivalent of only two seconds of run time and won’t hurt the hard drive).
- Monitors are especially big energy drains. Be sure to turn them off after 20 minutes of non-use.
- Printers, scanners and peripherals that are only used occasionally should be unplugged until needed.
- Get the Green Light
- Making green choices when it comes to lighting not only provides energy efficiency and savings, it also adds to the comfort, productivity and ambience of your workplace.
- Replace regular incandescent bulbs and fixtures with Energy Star-qualified compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). CFLs cast a warmer, soft white glow. Although initially more expensive than regular bulbs, they use between 60% and 80% less energy and last much longer (between 6,000 and 15,000 hours compared with about 1,000 hours with incandescents).
- Use task lighting.
- Install dimmers and timers to extend bulb life.
- Don’t underestimate the power of natural daylight, it’s free, it’s pleasant and has been proven to improve worker productivity and customer satisfaction. Also, be sure that walls are painted in a light color to enhance the advantage of that natural light.
- Lighting accounts for up to 50% of a building’s energy consumption. By simply turning off unnecessary lights, you can reduce the amount of energy used for lighting by up to 45%.