Maximise natural lighting by using the sun’s energy to brighten your office. You don’t need any building permissions to install this Solar Mate panel (£239.99) from Nigel’s Eco Store. Even in dreary old Blighty, it will store between 8-11 hours of light for its bulb. Screensavers save the screen, not energy, so switch off your monitor (which uses twice the energy of your PC) altogether when you go for lunch, as well as the PC itself. British Eco make it easy with these Bye bye standby plugs (£19.99 for intrdouctory pack), which allow you to control your equipment wirelessly from up to 30 metres away. Handy for those forgetful days.
Make business calls on this Siemens Gigaset digital cordless phone (£49.95) from John Lewis, which claims to use up to 60% less energy than regular cordless phones. For more ideas, read the Eco-design handbook for homes and offices (£16.95) from the Design Museum shop and get up to speed with what else you can do.
Almost 50% of all catalogues sent by post are never opened, yet nearly 62 million trees and 28 billion gallons of water are used every year to produce them. Get yourself removed from junk-mailing lists by registering with the Mailing Preference Service.
Printing and paper
Print only the information you really need from a document, and also print double-sided, using the smallest font you can and switching your printer to ‘draft’ output to save ink. Make sure you recycle your print cartridges using one of the many post-it-back schemes, and use chlorine-free recycled paper. For every tonne of paper that is recycled, we save 17 trees, 42,000 kilowatts of electricity, 26,000 litres of water and 27 kilograms of air pollutants. Do your filing and store documents in these award-winning recycled lever arch files (£2.45 each) from the Natural Collection.
Meetings and communication
Install video-conferencing facilities (easily achieved via the use of a webcam), so you can keep in touch with clients and the office without having to travel.
Use energy-efficient, compact fluorescent bulbs, which use 75 per cent less energy and last 10 times longer than traditional bulbs. For desk lamps, choose miniature compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) or light-emitting diodes (LEDs). This Ocean energy saving lamp (£95) from Hidden Art not only looks stylish enough to impress clients. Choosing electrical equipment with an energy-star label could cut your electricity bill by up to 80 per cent. The Energy Star logo means that the energy consumption of an appliance is below an agreed level in stand-by mode.
Don’t leave chargers running
Switch off the charger for your mobile phone, batteries, camera and other equipment when you’ve finished charging. If you don’t it will draw almost as much energy as when it is charging, and you will generate 35-70 kilograms of avoidable carbon dioxide each year. It’s estimated that 95% of the energy used by mobile-phone chargers in the UK is energy wasted in this way. Charge mobile phones instead with this Trevor Bayliss eco-pro charger (£21.95) from Ethical Superstore. Environmentally-friendly laptop chargers are currently in development – watch this space for Samsung’s fuel-cell dock, which promises to power a laptop running eight hours a day for an entire month without recharging.
Cut heating costs
Working from home might seem like a good, green idea, but extra carbon emissions created by heating and powering your home office may outweigh the savings you make by not commuting. Research suggests that a full-time home-worker emits 2.3 tonnes of CO2 annually, compared to 1.7 tonnes for the average office worker, partly due to the additional use of electricity and heating. So in those months where you can’t enjoy working in the garden, make sure you only have lights switched on in the room you are using, and use a portable heater rather than keeping radiators on all over the house.
Love gadgets? Don’t let them spoil the environment. Read our guide to buying the latest tech toys that happen to be green too. Get a stylish office with classic Florence Knoll furniture she revolutionised the post-war coporate look in the US.
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