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We all know "Green" is a good idea these days: green products are hotter than ever. Energy-efficient products can save your business real money, and we have a commitment to preserve our planet for future generations. But the transition to an environmentally friendly workplace can be a daunting one. We advocate taking small steps toward this big goal. This is the first in our three-part Green Workplace series, and these are our recommended Green 1st Steps:

Start with your power consumption.

We're not advocating that you work by candlelight, but consider the following ideas:

  1. Switch out incandescent bulbs for energy-efficient and long-lasting compact fluorescent bulbs.
  2. Organize non-essential powered equipment--staplers, printers, hole punches, fax machines--on a switchable power strip, and remember to turn it off when it's not in use.
  3. Get rid of that big, space-eating (and energy-hogging) CRT monitor, and opt for a LCD display. You'll not only gain several square feet of desk space, but you'll use less energy and reduce your toxic impact on landfills.

Look deeper at your office paper needs.

Because these are your first steps, it's not necessary at this stage to completely change the way you work. But you can make a big impact with a few of the following ideas:

  1. Take a long look at the amount (and kind) of paper you and your office go through on a daily basis. You probably use only half of each piece: the front half! Flip each sheet over and re-use as scrap or internal-only prints.
  2. Are you printing every last email? If you're concerned about documentation, save emails to a folder on your desktop and back up that folder to an external drive. If you hate reading on-screen, try increasing your default font size. Think of the paper--and the forest acreage--you'll help to save!
  3. According to the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), the US is the world's biggest consumer of paper. Using FSC-certified, post-consumer recycled stocl to be sure your paper supply is eco-friendly.

With these simple green first steps, you'll save money, improve your work environment and help preserve the Earth for generations to come.

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