25 tips to save the world

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 world.

  1. Turn off electrical equipment - obvious, but easy to forget.
  2. Buy a duplex printer - printing double-sided reduces paper usage.
  3. Displace toilet water - fill plastic containers with stones to displace up to four litres in toilet cisterns.
  4. Fix leaky taps - if one drop of water is wasted per second, it equates to 10,000 litres' worth of wastage per year.
  5. 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 manufacturer.
  6. Reuse - got left over stock or slightly out-of-date food? Give it away, rather than sending it to landfill.
  7. 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.
  8. Switch suppliers - source your products from more eco-friendly suppliers, or give your current suppliers an incentive to go green.
  9. Refurbish - instead of buying new furniture to refit your office, see if you can refurbish or recondition your current furniture.
  10. Use non-chemical alternatives - look for non-toxic toners or batteries. Xerox produces a non-toxic printer ink.
  11. 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 sources.
  12. Incentivise - without the cooperation of your employees, your hopes of eco-harmony will be dashed, so create an incentive scheme to encourage them.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Think about your haulage - sea and rail freight produce fewer emissions than transporting products by air and road, and generally work out cheaper.
  16. Turn down the heating - for every one degree you turn up your central heating, you add an average of 8% to your energy bill.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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 down.
  21. Keep radiators clear - make sure radiators are free of furniture or other obstacles that limit the supply of heat to the room.
  22. Get rid of screensavers - screensavers don't save energy. Set your monitors to switch off after five minutes instead.
  23. 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.
  24. 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 and recycle.
  25. Car share - start a scheme to encourage employees to buddy up and share transport to work.
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