Commercial consumption was 3,481 Trillion BTU’s of energy in 2015. That correlates to more than 15% of all the carbon output in the United States!

For many companies and individuals, lowering the environmental impact from their operations is an important priority. But major initiatives can take a long time to launch, and require lots of capital and the collaboration of a large team. So what are some technology-related initiatives a team or an individual can do to make a meaningful difference, and lower the carbon output of their company?

These three non-obvious tips will help you to promote a more conscious office and lower the carbon output of your company. All three of these initiatives will also save your company wasted money:

Confirm that your computer goes to sleep at night.

On the high-end for a desktop, the usage could be 250 watts for a desktop (per hour). Therefore a user could be running up energy usage of over 3,000 watthours over the course of an evening if the machine is left on overnight. If the machine is put into sleep mode overnight the power usage comes down from over 3,000 watthours to 72 watthours on average. Your office could save huge amounts of energy through this simple initiative that takes less than 30 seconds (Instructions below).

To put your machine to sleep, go to the Windows or Start Menu and search for “Sleep”. Go to “Sleep and Power Settings” and set it to go to sleep after a reasonable time of inactivity (1 hour is common).

Important: Remember to turn this off if your IT people notify you they are running updates or doing after-hours maintenance. It only takes a minute!

Print two-sided, and create a “scrap paper” bin.

As we present more and more of our client-facing materials digitally, much of what we print at Upward is for internal use only. We have been fairly successful in this initiative and have reduced the number of visits from our paper shredding company by 50%. We also keep non-sensitive wasted prints in bins around the office for notes and agendas.

You can print two-sided from most print drivers right from the “Print” screen:

Don’t make that afternoon pot of coffee

Okay, it’s not exactly “technology” related, but it is a non-obvious tip that can yield big results.

The average coffee machine uses enough energy a day to move an efficient car about 20 miles. But the waste also carries over to the kitchen sink. Late morning/ early afternoon pots of coffee are often left unfinished. The machine sits on for several hours and several cups of sludgy coffee are poured down the kitchen sink. This correlates to millions of gallons of wasted water, millions of pounds of wasted coffee and millions of kilowatts of energy squandered every year in the U.S.

If you have guests visiting or need a pick-me-up, an alternative would be a French press or AeroPress device that makes a smaller amount and doesn’t sit on for hours.

Want to hear more ideas on how to save energy in the workplace? Contact Upward today!