Having spent many years commuting to office buildings and spending the whole day in one giant cubicle farm, I jumped at the first chance I got to work from home when I got the opportunity. Besides the environmental benefits, you also get several tax benefits. Here’s what you need to know if you are planning to set up a home office:
Consider Having a Home Office
Opting to run your business from the comfort of your own home office is a nice way to go green, and it’s even better than commuting. The proliferation of smartphones and tablets, online conferencing offers a great way to hold meetings, and it is no longer necessary to have face-to-face meetings in many businesses. Why don’t you play your part and help reduce traffic to cut on the greenhouse gas emissions? With a properly designed and equipped home office, there’s no reason not to meet your clients at your home.
Cut out Paper
One of the biggest environmental problems a business creates is paper based. Printing costs a business money and is also extremely bad for the environment. This infographic from ecardshack.com suggests that one card sent by a business creates 29g of carbon as opposed to only 4g for an ecard. That’s a big difference. Throw into that the cost of printer use and ink and cartridge manufacturing and you can see paper and printing is bad on a number of levels.
If you want to find the best options for every part of your personal routine, the Environmental Working Group Skin Deep Database provides you with a comprehensive resource. Here, you will learn the benefits of the green products, and even realize that most of them cost less than or same as their more toxic counterparts; not forgetting they are much better for the environments, and your health as well.
LED or Compact-Fluorescent (CFL) Lights
Although both the LED and CFL might have a higher retail price than the standard incandescent bulbs, they usually last longer, and essentially use significantly lesser energy. LED and CFL lights can save you as much as $200 per bulb in the long run, and can fit in most fixtures around your home.
Energy Star Appliances
Replace your outdated appliances with the more modern greener counterparts to save more energy. The energy Star rated appliances come with labels that indicate their cash and energy requirements over time for your assessment. Be sure to look for the yellow tags the next time you buy an appliance, and see up front the long term environmental and economic savings.
Get an Energy Audit
Make simple changes around your home and office with an energy audit. According to the energy department, sealing cracks and leaks around the house can cut as much as 20% of your total heating and cooling costs. You can get free energy audits in most states, and you will only have to pay for repairs. Look up online for free energy audits for your state for leads.
You can also power up your home or office with alternative energy sources. Many states have platforms where you can purchase green energy sources, even from the current provider. This green energy is generated from renewable sources of energy including solar and wind power, plant matter, hydropower, and geothermal. Although purchasing the green power might increase your electricity bills by a small percent, keep in mind that some of the funds are used to buy the clean energy into the grid.
Using hybrid or alternative fuel vehicles, public transportation, or a bike will essentially reduce the carbon footprint of your business, and will even highlight the commitment of your business to looking after the environment. In the long run, this will save you a considerable amount of cash. Even though conventional businesses are trying to go green in traditional manners, it’s still not enough to cut enough carbon.
Think outside the Box
Besides making sure you recycle everything that can be recycled around you, think green when you want to replace or purchase items. You can consider buying vintage or used office furniture rather than purchasing new pieces. eBay and Craigslist are some of the best places to find deals barely used office furniture.
Green Web Hosting
Some web hosting companies take part in green initiatives such as planting trees, using renewable energy, and purchasing carbon offsets as well as renewable energy certificates to mitigate and minimize the environmental costs involved in running their servers and infrastructure. These companies often offer services that cost less than or the same as from those running their servers using fossil fuels.
Following these simple tips can save you a significant amount off your bill, and make your business very attractive to the eco-conscious clients. Regardless of the steps you have chosen to undertake, let your clients know you are undertaking them by having a green practices section in your website or an environmental mission statement.
A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon
Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.
There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.
1. The Rise Of Smart Windows
When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.
If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.
2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs
If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.
Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.
3. Low-E Windows Taking Over
It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.
They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.
4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges
Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.
The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.
5. Improving Our Current LEDs
Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.
That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.
Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too
Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.
ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244
IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”
IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.
Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.
Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.
Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:
“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.
We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.
There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.
We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”