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Easy ways to ‘green’ your home office

These days just about every home has an “office” space, ranging from a desk and computer in a corner of the living room to a separate room or outbuilding that is fully kitted out as a base for a home office or business.

And they all use a high amount of energy and resources relative to their size and the rest of the home, so if you’re trying to live “greener” – and cut your power bills in your home office – it is worth following some simple guidelines to make them more environmentally friendly, says Berry Everitt, MD of the Chas Everitt International property group.

As an easy start, he says, you should buy a second wastebasket to use for recyclables such as plastics, old batteries and printer cartridges, and add any used paper such as old memos and letters, computer paper, newspapers, magazines, clean cardboard and old telephone books to a household pile or sack for recycling in your home office. (To find out if and when there is a used paper pickup or community recycling depot in your area you can call 0800 022 112 or email info@mpact.co.za). In addition, take any old electronic equipment to a proper recycling depot and make sure it does not go into a landfill.

“Secondly, cut down on home office paper use by not printing out emails unless absolutely necessary, filing your documents electronically (with a good backup system), setting your printer to use both sides of a page, and changing to electronic billing as far as possible.”

Writing in the Property Signposts newsletter, Everitt also suggests the use of “green” cleaning products in your office, and stationery and office supplies with a high percentage of recycled content, as well as refilled printer cartridges and rechargeable batteries.

“Fourth, tackle the power usage issue. Make sure any new home office equipment you buy is Energy Star-rated, because this will typically use 20 to 30% less power than non-rated equipment. Use flat computer screens rather than the old CRT monitors to cut computer power consumption by about a third.

“Use CFLs or LEDs instead of ordinary globes and plug all your electronics into a power bar with surge protector that can be turned off at the end of the workday, because equipment left on standby still consumes power.”

And finally, he says, you should give yourself credit for every day you can spend working in your home office instead of commuting, because this reduces energy and resource consumption and helps cut carbon emissions.



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