Green IT: What Does it Mean?

green itGreen IT is defined to create more environmentally friendly ways to manufacture, use and dispose of computer equipment in our homes and offices around the world. The steps toward minimizing the environmental impact from our digital world is one that’s not as easy as it appears. When you realize how much computers are relied upon today and made in specific ways, it becomes complicated in changing their environmental footprint.

While the manufacturing materials of our computers probably won’t change in the immediate term, computers can still be recycled so the materials used in them can be used in new products. Unfortunately, the metals of gold and copper used in computers aren’t recovered as much as they should be. On Greenitweek.org, it’s noted that computers contain more chemicals than you likely ever knew, and those can end up in the environment when a computer isn’t recycled responsibly.

Here are some simple and easy steps businesses can do to support the Green IT movement:

  • Purchase electronic equipment that is energy star compliant.
  • Support electronics vendors who have a sustainability focus and program.
  • Turn off all computers and electronic equipment at night. This can save over $100 per piece of equipment per year.
  • Support electronics vendors who take back their equipment and recycle responsibly.
  • Use an e-waste vendor to recycle electronics responsibly. You can find a national database of proper recycling centers for computers through the General Services Administration.

Water Saving Tips for Colorado Residents

hand turning a tap on, isolatedAlthough Colorado received some incredible snowfall in April 2013, our water table is still low and drought conditions still exist.

According to the United States Drought Monitor approximately 90% of the state of Colorado is still identified “severe to extreme drought” conditions. It is important to be water conscious while Colorado still is in drought conditions.

As the season of hotter, drier weather approaches Colorado residents can begin participating in several water conservation efforts that will assist in preparation for the summer when the drought will likely be at its peak. Colorado residents can:

  • Water lawns between 7pm-5am and limit sprinkler use to only 1-2 times per week. Colorado residents should be aware that many counties will have mandatory restrictions. Denver Water has posted their drought watering times and restrictions.
  • Keep your grass longer by raising lawn mower blades and mow less frequently.
  • Consider xeriscaping your lawn or garden.
  • Repair leaky faucets and toilets. According to National Geographic ten gallons a day is lost through leaky faucets.
  • Consider converting to low-flow and WaterSense certified toilets, faucets and washers. Denver Water is currently offering rebates on both.
  • Take 5 minutes or less showers which can save about 12.5 gallons of water.
  • Be mindful of not letting your faucet run while brushing your teeth or shaving. Considering installing a foot pedal from Foot Faucet to reduce running water while using the kitchen sink.

For continuing updates on the drought, information on the current water restrictions and additional conservations tips please visit the Denver Water website.

Going Paperless Reduces Carbon Footprint

For most small and medium sized businesses reducing paper consumption can significantly reduce an organizations carbon footprint. If the US cut office paper use by just 10 percent it would eliminate 1.6 million tons of greenhouse gases which is the equivalent of taking 280,000 cars off the road for one year. According to reduce.org, the average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper a year. Further paper statistics conclude that it takes an entire tree to generate 12,500 pieces paper, of which only 5% will ever be recycled.

As companies of all sizes realize the constraints that paper places on their businesses, they are exploring the many advantages offered by a paperless office, as identified in the article, Becoming a Paperless Office.

Even though the principles of a paperless company are beneficial, it can be challenging to leave behind a data format on which your business has always relied. Here are just a few easy tips that can start your business to reduce and recycle paper;

  • Use both sides of the paper. You can set your printer default to print both sides, make double-sided copies, and use the backs of single-sided documents that have served their purpose.
  • Think before you print. Double check print/copy properties before you print, only print the necessary pages, and share documents whenever possible.
  • Put forms, newsletters, articles and any other applicable documents online. Your management, employees and customers will have immediate access to what they need. 
  • Recycle, recycle, recycle. If your company does not yet have a recycling program, get one started. If you have one, make sure you employees know how to properly use it. Be sure to use post-consumer recycled paper whenever possible.

Going completely paperless is a commitment that will take your company time to fully implement. A first step is getting better organized electronically Then, start by improving overall automation of processes. As identified by the numbers, if every business made improvements it would make a significant impact to climate change.

Creating a Healthier Work Environment by Using Non-Toxic Cleaners

According to an article by Safer Statesnearly each day, four million people in the United States… are exposed to toxic chemicals in their workplace on a daily basis. What’s worse is that this number is only counting towards the people in direct contact with the chemicals- like janitors, landscapers, and groundskeepers.  Now imagine what the statistics jump to once you include all the people who indirectly work around those chemicals- like all the employees who work in your office.

Here are some tips for how to switch to eco-friendly products that will still make your office as clean and beautiful, but without the negative effects on the environment or your health:

  • Use eco-friendly cleaning products– these cleaning products recommended by the EPA are generally bio-based which means that they break down easily in the environment and do not omit toxic or other harmful substances into the air.
  • Use an eco-friendly vacuum cleaner– these vacuum cleaners actually help improve indoor air quality by using HEPA filters that can trap nearly 100% of airborne particles.
  • Use eco-friendly fertilizers and de-icers right outside the office to keep the walkways clear in the winter and the lawns lush and green in the summer, all while reducing the amounts of pollutants seeping into the air and ground.
  • Add plants to your office.  Not only do plants add a sense of beauty and hominess to a workplace, they also add to an eco-friendly environment by absorbing air pollutants.

Contact us today and talk to our eco consultants about how to transform your office environment into a healthy work environment.