07 December 2009 by Emma
We all know recycling and turning off the air conditioning at
the end of the day will help reduce energy consumption, but what of
the little things? With the Copenhagen conference now declared
open, we list tips and tricks to help businesses save the
- Turn off electrical equipment - obvious, but
easy to forget.
- Buy a duplex printer - printing double-sided
reduces paper usage.
- Displace toilet water - fill plastic
containers with stones to displace up to four litres in toilet
- Fix leaky taps - if one drop of water is
wasted per second, it equates to 10,000 litres' worth of wastage
- Get clued up on WEEE - Make sure you're
complying with the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE)
directive, which imposes the responisbility for disposing old or
broken electrical and electronic equipment on the
- Reuse - got left over stock or slightly
out-of-date food? Give it away, rather than sending it to
- Buy recycled - recycling isn't just about
putting your waste paper in a separate bin. Buying recycled paper
and other products helps save trees too. Try thegreenoffice for
eco-friendly office supplies.
- Switch suppliers - source your products from
more eco-friendly suppliers, or give your current suppliers an
incentive to go green.
- Refurbish - instead of buying new furniture to
refit your office, see if you can refurbish or recondition your
- Use non-chemical alternatives - look for
non-toxic toners or batteries. Xerox produces a
non-toxic printer ink.
- Switch energy tarrifs - British Gas, E.On and
Npower all offer green energy tarriffs; or, if you're more
committed, switch to Good
Energy, which takes 100% of its electricity from renewable
- Incentivise - without the cooperation of your
employees, your hopes of eco-harmony will be dashed, so create an
incentive scheme to encourage them.
- Look at low-energy PCs - computers are one of
the biggest sources of energy consumption in businesses, so look at
buying lower-energy ones. VeryPC manufactures sustainable PCs
which can be used by up to five separate users - meaning five times
less energy is consumed.
- Lower the temperature in unused spaces -
corridors and meeting rooms that aren't frequenty used won't need
to be as well heated, so turn down the radiators.
- Think about your haulage - sea and rail
freight produce fewer emissions than transporting products by air
and road, and generally work out cheaper.
- Turn down the heating - for every one degree
you turn up your central heating, you add an average of 8% to your
- Monitor your energy usage - if you have an
idea of exactly how much you are using, you will have a better idea
of how much you need to save. DIY Kyoto think their
gorgeously designed electricity meter, Wattson, can help you save
up to 20% of your electricity per year.
- Switch off monitors - it goes without saying
that everyone should turn their computer off at the end of the day.
But more often than not, monitors are left on, merrily guzzling
energy throughout the night.
- Plug gaps - a draughty office will make your
employees turn up the thermostat, so plug those gaps in door- and
window-frames to keep the temperature up.
- Force shutdown - if some of your employees are
a bit cheeky when it comes to turning off their computers at night,
change your computers' settings to shut down if it has not been
used for a certain period of time. See
this guide for information on setting PCs to automatically shut
- Keep radiators clear - make sure radiators are
free of furniture or other obstacles that limit the supply of heat
to the room.
- Get rid of screensavers - screensavers don't
save energy. Set your monitors to switch off after five minutes
- Travel only when necessary - does that meeting
really need to take place in San Francisco? Skype and other VoIP software
allows you to have long-distance meetings over the phone.
- Offset - carbon offsetting works by
undertaking projects such as tree planting or installing solar
panels in developing countries to make up for carbon emitted by a
business or individual. If your business has emitted five tons of
carbon this year, an offsetter will plant enough trees to
neutralise that. Carbon offsetting should not be seen as an easy
way to make excuses for your gas-guzzling behaviour, though - only
turn to it once you've done as much as possible to reduce, reuse
- Car share - start a scheme to encourage
employees to buddy up and share transport to work.