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A Green Checklist

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A Green checklist
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The green movement has come far since Bette Midler joked in 1977 that she had gone organic: “Last week I ate an Earth Shoe.”

There are easier steps to take than that.

With the help of some sustainability coordinators and Sustainable Pittsburgh, here is a list of things companies can do to become a little more “green” — or a lot more.

1. Turn out the lights. It goes without saying that flipping a switch to cut off the power, means you aren’t using any. The same goes for personal fans and desk lamps in the office.

2. Get rid of personal appliances. The little refrigerators that people have in their offices and the tiny ones they have on their desks use an outsized amount of electricity. Better to have a communal fridge (and a plan to clean it).

3. Change your light bulbs. Phyllis Barber, the sustainability coordinator for Highmark said when the company decided to change the light bulbs, they tested various solutions before coming up with bulbs that worked for them: cold cathode lighting, which had a return in energy savings on investing in the more expensive bulbs of about half a year. Replacing exit signs with LED lighting will also reduce consumption.

4. Print on both sides of the paper. It took a change in computer programming, but now Highmark’s explanation of their member benefits are printed on two sides of the paper and would use half of the paper except that some statements have an odd number of pages.

5. Take greener notes. Taking notes on laptop computers saves paper and storing records on the computer costs less overall.

6. Wash dishes. Encourage staff to bring in reusable cups and mugs for coffee and cold drinks rather than use disposable ones.

7. Reuse office supplies. It’s not just interoffice mail envelopes that can be used multiple times. Presentation binders and file folders can have many lives.

8. Recycle more than paper. Toner and printer cartridges and old computer equipment can be recycled too.

9. Take a nap. Use energy management software for computers that have to be on all the time, so when they are not being used, they can “sleep.”

10. Clean green. Use cleaning products that are certified as green.

11. Make it a priority. Hire a sustainability coordinator to implement green initiatives.

12. Get a checkup. Conduct an energy audit to see where any electricity might be wasted.

13. Build green. Make sure expansions in the operation are in green buildings near public transportation.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10075/1042888-334.stm?cmpid=business.xml#ixzz0iJQVL2yo

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