5 ways to save money & energy at the office


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Being an energy-efficient worker doesn’t have to mean shelling out lots of money. In fact, these five tips will actually save you some cash — while helping the environment.

Carpool, bike or take mass transit.
This might seem like a no-brainer, but most of us are still driving ourselves to work. In fact, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that in 2005, nearly 77% of American workers were driving alone to their jobs. Aside from reducing your environmental impact, using public transportation can save your household at least $10,000 a year. And if public transportation isn’t an option where you live, consider biking or carpooling as greener alternatives.

Whether by bus, ferry, subway or rail, using public transportation not only cuts back on carbon emissions; it also can save you a pretty penny — $10,000 a year or more for households, according to the American Transportation Association.

Keep printing to a minimum.
No, that office memo announcing so-and-so’s retirement party does not need to be printed out. Of course, we understand that sometimes you have to print things. So take a cue from the Minus One Project and reduce the font size of your document by one point before printing it. If we all adopted this practice, we can reduce the amount of paper used for printouts by up to 50%.

Bring your own lunch in a reusable container.
If you are like most working Americans, you spend an average of $37 per week, or nearly $2,000 a year — yes, that’s $2,000 a year — just on lunch. Keep more of that money in your pocket and more trash out of the landfill by bringing your own lunch in a reusable container or bag. Need some inspiration? Check out HellaWella’s picks for the top 5 sammiches to spice up your work week.

Skip the Starbucks.
We get it. You can’t function without your morning cup of joe. Consider, however, how much you may be throwing away in both trash and money to get your caffeine fix. Start your day off right by brewing your own coffee at home and bringing it in a thermos. Or if you prefer to wait until you get to work, skip the retail coffee chain and pour yourself a cup at the office. If nothing but Starbucks will do the trick, you eliminate the waste by having the barista make you a cup in a reusable tumbler or mug. Doing so can even save you 10 cents on your drink.

Power down.
While it may appear to take forever for your computer to boot up each morning, the amount of energy used to do this is less than what’s used when your computer is left running for a long time. On top of that, shutting down your machine can save you as much as $90 worth of electricity. The U.S. Dept. of Energy recommends turning off the monitor if you are not using the computer for more than 20 minutes and shutting down both the central processing unit, or CPU, and monitor if you’re not using it for more than two hours. It’s also important to note that screen savers are not energy savers and in fact use more energy than not using one.