Top 3 Steps to Having a “Greener” Office

April 4, 2016 The TNS Group

Step #1:  Save PAPER – Print Double-Sided or Not at All

With Earth Day 2016 around the corner on April 22nd, let me ask you a question:

How many sheets of paper do you think the average American office worker prints in a year?

Answer:  A shocking 10,000 sheets per year!

Recent statistics show that the number of pages used by the average American office worker is a staggering 10,000 sheets per year.  That’s the equivalent of two boxes of paper per year.  Let’s take that a step further.  At a previous employer which had about 3,000 employees, where I founded their Conservation Committee, our first initiative was to reduce paper waste.  I had calculated that the amount of paper used by a company of that size each year was the equivalent of three full 52’ tractor trailers.  That’s just one company in just one year.  How does that correlate to costs and environmental impact? 10,000 sheets of paper per year for a 3,000 person company consumes 3,600 trees, uses 1,800,000 gallons of water, and costs $276,000.  Again, every year.  (You can calculate these figures for your own company using one of these online calculators).

In just one year that Conservation Committee, working in tandem with their Facilities department, reduced monthly paper usage by over 30%.  How?

  • Communicating to the business how much paper was used annually, and equating that to the amount of trees and other resources consumed, and making regular presentations and other corporate-wide communications to educate employees about the benefits of paper conservation.
  • Changing corporate guidelines to require the use of double-sided printing unless otherwise required.
  • Standardizing corporate email signatures to a more concise one with fewer lines (some were 20 lines or more), and especially adding something like this to all email signatures (thus reducing printed orphan pages):  Please consider the environment before printing this email.

Here are a few good links to more information on how to conserve paper:

http://www.thepaperlessproject.com/facts-about-paper-the-impact-of-consumption/

https://www.csuchico.edu/vpbf/sustainable/ccc/all_files/Double%20Sided%20Printing%20Promotion.pdf

http://www.reduce.org/paper/

Step #2 Save ELECTRICITY – Turn Monitors Off

Another common sense and simple step towards having a greener office is to educate employees to turn off their monitors if it won’t be used for more than 20 minutes, and especially overnight.  The Conservation Committee I referred to previously had a very effective initiative of placing green stickers on each computer stating the following:  Turn off your monitor at night and when you leave your desk for 20 minutes or more. 

Even better is to purchase ENERGY STAR® computers and monitors and activate their sleep mode and power management features.  These simple steps can extend the life of your monitors and save you up to $30 each year per system on your electricity bills.  Those savings can really add up.  Also, modern LCD color monitors do not need screen savers, which are not energy savers, as using a screen saver may use more energy than not using one and may interfere with the power-down feature.  See http://energy.gov/energysaver/energy-efficient-computer-use for more information.

Step #3 Save on TOTAL COST OF OWNERSHIP – Virtualize your Servers

It used to be standard procedure to have a separate “physical” server for every application.  It is now the norm to run many servers virtually on one physical host server.  As far as the technical benefits of doing so, let me refer you to The TNS Group’s recent blog, “Why All the Hype About Virtualization,” written by my esteemed colleague Russ Hanoman, as I couldn’t possibly put that better.  However, let me add that for every physical host 1U rack server decommissioned by virtualization a savings of $500 in energy, $500 in operating system licenses and $1,500 in hardware maintenance costs can be realized.  Please see https://www.energystar.gov/products/low_carbon_it_campaign/12_ways_save_energy_data_center/server_virtualization for more information.

Contact The TNS Group.  We can partner with you to virtualize your servers and activate your computer’s sleep mode and power management features, which can help you save money, run your business more efficiently, and conserve natural resources. Happy Earth Day!!

By:  Doug D’Jay, Client Services, The TNS Group

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