At your regular workplace, you have little control over how to green your surroundings are. But when you’ve set up a home office, you have total say over the measures you implement there to make it as environmentally-friendly as possible.
These 10 ideas for going green at your home office will help you ensure that you use your work-from-home privileges to be kind to the planet.
1. Use Your Heat or Air Condition Sparingly
Some of us have gotten a little soft about withstanding temperatures outside our comfort zone. But in the summer, try pushing your boundaries a bit. Use a fan instead of kicking on the air conditioning when it gets a little warmer than you’d like in your house.
In the winter, throw on a blanket or a snuggie and avoid using as much heat. You’re working from home, so it’s okay to get cozier by putting on a pair of sweatpants. The planet — and your utility bill — will thank you.
2. Install a Solar Panel
Having a home office means extra energy expenses for your computer, printer, and other equipment. Installing solar panels will take some money upfront to implement, but it will more than pay for itself in the long run.
If you use a lot of paper in your home office, don’t overlook how crucial recycling is to a green workspace. If you have kids, get them in on the act. They’ll think it’s fun figuring out what can be recycled and get a kick out of helping the planet.
4. Use LED Lighting
Fluorescent light isn’t your friend — and it’s not good for the environment either. It contains harmful chemicals like mercury and can even hurt your productivity. Use LED lights instead for greater efficiency and longer performance.
5. Use Your Computer’s Sleep Mode
You want a break when you have lunch — and you should give one to your computer too. Turning on your computer’s sleep mode can save a lot of energy during the course of the year.
It’s also one of the easiest ways to save some money.
6. Use Green Cleaning Supplies
You’ll have to tidy up your office from time to time. To reduce your carbon footprint when you do, look for eco-friendly cleaning supplies. Everyday items like vinegar, lemon, and baking soda can do a surprisingly great job when used for cleaning.
By using better alternatives, you’ll be creating a healthier environment in your home office and the rest of your home. Plus, those chemicals — the ones you wash down the drain, such as shower, sink, and toilet bowl cleaners — won’t end up in our waterways.
7. Use Power Strips
Don’t plug your devices directly into an outlet. Instead, use a smart power strip. If your computer is in standby mode, it will save energy by decreasing standby power loss and you’ll protect your equipment from power surges.
Using a power strip doesn’t have any downsides, so plug it in.
8. Go Digital Whenever Possible
Sometimes we get overzealous in our attempts to have all the information we need at our fingertips. Instead of printing out sheets of paper you’ll only occasionally glance at, consider keeping a digital file on your phone or computer that you can quickly refer to instead.
You’ll also be rewarded with less clutter because you won’t have stacks of paper. You’ll need less storage as well in your home office.
9. Opt for Chlorine-Free Paper
Even if we try, it’s impossible to completely cut out printing things in our home offices. For times when you need to have a hard copy in front of you, purchase chlorine-free paper that has been recycled. Chlorine is used to bleach paper — it’s a chemical we don’t need to use for that since it’s not a necessary step for paper making.
You can also opt for a more sustainable source for paper, such as organic cotton or bamboo.
10. Shop Secondhand for Your Office Furniture
If it’s possible to get filing cabinets, a desk, and an office chair from a thrift store, that might be the way to go. For every person who stocks their home office with a piece of used furniture, the demand for new items will go down, saving resources.
With some sweat equity, those old pieces could be a cool accent piece in your office.
Do Your Part
By taking these simple steps to make your home office more environmentally-friendly, you’ll be protecting your health and the health of our planet. You’ll also be making money while you’re doing it since many of these measures will put more green in your wallet, too. That’s a day at the office you can feel good about.
This article was last updated on March 18, 2021 .