Green Your Office

As we mentioned in an earlier blog post, going green isn’t as expensive as we often think.

Results released in November 2009 by Gregory Kats from a two-year independently funded study, (and published in the book Greening Our Built World) provides detailed findings on the costs and financial benefits of building green. According to the study, green buildings cost roughly 2% more to build than conventional buildings. In addition, green buildings reduce energy use by an average of 33%, resulting in significant cost savings.

Similarly, greening your office often means saving money. Last spring, Joel Makower wrote a post in Scientific American, Three Ways to Green Up Your Office on the Cheap, and focused on office improvements “with the biggest bang for the buck.” We agree that these are the areas you should be focusing on.

Paper Use
Our dependence on paper affects the environment more than most of us think. In his post Joel Makower noted that:

A study by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and Citigroup estimated that the real  price tag of a $2 ream of office paper is 31 times that—$62—when you add in the costs of paper storage, printing, copying, recycling, disposal and postage. So, saving paper has a multiplier effect—and not just financially: The pulp and paper industry is the second-largest consumer of energy in the U.S. and uses more water to produce a ton of product than any other industry.

The good news is that cutting down on paper use is simple print less, print doubled-sided and recycle.

Travel and Commuting
Travel and commuting still remains one of the most damaging work habits to the environment.

Despite predictions that we would all be telecommuting in the new millennium, most of us are still traveling to the office everyday. But having employees work from home just 1 or 2 days a week can significantly cut down on carbon emissions. Find out how much money you can save your employees and how you can improve the planet with the telecommuting savings calculator.

Business travel is also very damaging and, unfortunately, we don’t seem to be changing our habits. According to a study done last summer, a majority of business travellers (59%) say that environmental concerns have no impact on their travel.

Webinars and online conferences are a great alternative to business travel. Or, if you have to travel, try to combine your trips to lessen the amount of times you travel in a year or buy carbon offsets this is what Legend Power’s Dave Orton and Erik Wolfe did when they flew to Toronto last month.

Energy and Lighting
Energy use is the largest operating expense for commercial office buildings.

Simply turning off your lights, computers, printers and fax machines can make a huge difference in your energy consumption. A study released last spring reported that:

U.S. workers waste $2.8 billion annually in energy costs by failing to shut off their PCs at the end of the work day. What’s more, machines left on during off hours may emit up to 20 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) this year alone, roughly the equivalent impact of four million cars.

While energy is the largest operating expense, 1/3 of all the energy used in commercial buildings is wasted, which is where energy efficiency measures come in.

Although LEED Lighting retrofits is a popular energy efficiency option, a better option is Legend Power’s Harmonizer-AVR. The Legend Power Harmonizer-AVR adjusts a commercial buildings’ incoming voltage to the optimum operating level for each facility, creating a significant reduction in energy consumption and peak demand.

Have a look at our corporate video to hear what IKEA, Science World, and BC Hydro say firsthand about how effective the Legend Power system is for them.

Watch out for upcoming posts about how we’re staying green at our Legend Power offices and what we’re doing to improve the planet.