Working at home is an environmentally friendly practice: it reduces carbon emissions by eliminating the daily commute, decreases electricity consumption, and significantly decreases the use of paper products, which saves trees.
But why stop there?
Telecommuters can adopt several eco-friendly habits to keep their offices green such as using recycled paper, LED light bulbs, and rechargeable batteries. Turning your home office into a more environmentally friendly place doesn’t mean you have to spend money replacing existing items with green products. You can go green without spending a lot of money.
Here are some simple environmentally friendly solutions for your home office that won’t break the bank:
Turn it Off
Simply turning off your computer, lights, and other office equipment at the end of the day is something you can do to save money and use less energy. You’ll save even more electricity if you plug everything in the office into a power strip. Turn the strip off so your electronics don’t suck extra power while they are turned off.
Stay Away from Disposables
Don’t use plastic or paper plates for your lunches. One of the benefits of working at home is that you have a full kitchen to prepare meals. It’s worth reducing waste of a paper plate or a disposable water bottle to use your own dishes. Besides, food always seems to taste better on a real plate.
One downside to working from home is your employer doesn’t pay the electric or gas bill. This is where the programmable thermostat comes in handy. These little thermostats are easy to install and will save you money on your electric bill. You can program certain times of the day when you’d like your air conditioner and heater to turn on and off, while keeping your home a comfortable temperature. Set your system to turn off at night to save even more money.
Say No to the Print Button
Depending on the work you do, you may be able to cut down on your paper use. Scan important documents and save files to your computer rather than hitting the print button. Paper waste is one of the biggest expenses of a traditional office. Don’t let your home office become a place of paper waste. When it is absolutely necessary to print something, use both sides of recycled paper.
Reclaimed Office Furniture
Not every home office needs top of the line office furniture. Try purchasing a desk second hand and painting or staining it to give it new life. Old kitchen tables with file cabinets underneath make great make-shift desks. I found my desk at a reclaimed lot that had hundreds of desks from offices that had recently gone out of business. I saved the desk from the landfill, and it’s a top-quality office desk.
It’s all about Low Flow
Another downside of working at home is that you’re stuck with the water bill too. Consider installing low-flow toilets and faucets. These items improve the value of your home while saving you on your water bill.
Going green can easily be accomplished by making small behavioral changes now and investing in green products when you have the money. By managing your home office with the environment in mind, you’re off to a great start at helping to save our planet.
What have you done to make your home office more environmentally friendly?
Sarah is the a Content Manager and a Writer at Virtual Vocations, the one-stop shop for telecommuters looking for legit jobs. With several years of marketing and writing experience, Sarah also managed a group of freelance writers for a marketing firm before going out on her own as a freelance writer. Follow Virtual Vocations on Twitter, Google+, and Facebook.