Tips for Going Green at Home and Work
Going Green at Home
- Consider taking advantage of energy saving programs through your utilities provider. BGE has a Peak Rewards program that provides monthly rebates in exchange for consumers' agreeing to have their cooling system cycled during high use periods.
- Manage your thermostat - don't just set it and forget it. During the winter, set your thermostat between 65 and 68 during the day. In summer, set the thermostat between 78 and 80. Use fans and space heaters to regulate the temperature of the room you're in and dress appropriately for the season.
- Turn off the lights and unplug equipment when you leave a room. Power strips are an easy way to turn off several electronics at a time and avoid the "phantom energy use" that happens when appliances are turned off but still plugged in.
- Switch to compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs). CFLs have several advantages over incandescent light bulbs: they last 8-10 times longer, use about 75% less energy, and produce 90% less heat while delivering more light per Watt.
- CFLs contain a small amount of mercury and have useful parts, so they should be recycled. You can recycle yours at any Home Depot store, or use a Fluorescent Lamp Disposal program.
- If you need to clean up a broken fluorescent light bulb, please read the EPA guidelines for CFL clean-up.
- Take reusable bags to the grocery store or mall. There are many inexpensive and attractive options available at grocery and other stores today.
- Check the labels on your produce and try to buy it from as local a source as possible. The average food item travels 1500 miles to get to you, which uses a lot of fuel. Local foods can reduce this waste. They are also fresher and support neighborhood businesses. Buying produce that is in season can help you buy more locally. Check out this interactive map for what's in season near you.
- When upgrading your appliances, consider Energy Star certified products, which show on the packaging their environmental and financial benefits.
- Consider switching to low-flow showerheads and toilets, which reduce water use without sacrificing quality and comfort.
- Look into native plants for your yard or garden. Not only are they the right food for attracting backyard wildlife such as birds, but they are naturally resistant to pests and weather fluctuations in our region, needing very little maintenance.
Going Green at Work
- Set your computer to hibernate after 20 minutes of inactivity. This reduces energy expenses and carbon emissions.
- Manage your thermostat - don't just set it and forget it. During the winter, set the office thermostat between 65 and 68 during business hours and to 60 at the end of the day. In summer, set the thermostat between 78 and 80 during the day and above 80 after hours. Use a desk fan or space heater and dress appropriately for the season.
- Close the doors of unused offices and meeting rooms. There is no need to heat or cool these areas while they are not in use.
- Turn off the lights and unplug any unused equipment in unoccupied rooms, such as bathrooms, storage closets, meeting rooms and offices. Power strips are an easy way to turn off several electronics at a time.
- Fax machines are typically always on, so make sure yours is Energy Star rated and the settings are adjusted so that it sleeps when not in use.
- Copy and print using both sides of the paper. Most printers have this capability, but if not, consider this when buying a new printer. Printing double-sided documents saves time, money and space and reduces your carbon footprint.
- Use misprints as notepaper.
- Recycle used printer and toner cartridges.
- Consider carpooling, public transportation, bicycling or walking to work. Besides the environmental benefits, these methods can offer exercise and/or stress relief.
- Consider telecommuting. If you can work from home even one day a week, this will reduce the amount of energy consumed at work and the carbon emissions from your vehicle. The average worker spends 47 hours every year commuting to work during rush hour traffic. That's 23 billion gallons of gas wasted in traffic every year! Consider some ways to green your car, too; look for higher gas mileage, including hybrid or partial zero emissions vehicles.
- Encourage e-mailing documents, presenting from a computer rather than making copies, and thinking twice before hitting print.
- Purchase recycled paper with a high post-consumer (used) content and low or no chlorine bleaching.
- Avoid buying work clothes that need to be dry cleaned. If you do, use a home kit that works in the dryer, or seek out a local organic or natural dry cleaner. Consider organic cotton and other natural fabrics; synthetics are often made from petroleum.
- Bring your lunch and use reusable containers and utensils. Purchase full-size condiments and leave them in your work refrigerator rather than using individual packets.
- Bring your own mug for coffee and other drinks throughout the day.
- Take advantage of MedStar Franklin Square's recycling programs for paper, plastics, metals, batteries and electronics.
- Use non-toxic cleaning products in your desk/office area.
- Cheer up your office with a live plant, known to reduce indoor air pollution.