The topics of sustainability and climate change are probably familiar to everyone by now. As a result of climate change, the earth as we know it changes. Global warming is mainly caused by human actions and the use of non-renewable energy sources. So every contribution to a more sustainable world, kept beautiful and habitable for the next generations, is of great value. In this article, we show you how to make your workspace greener and more environmentally friendly.
In the past decades, our earth has changed drastically. Natural disasters caused by increased temperatures and rising sea levels are becoming more frequent. The consequences of climate change are not going unnoticed in Germany either. Summer temperatures in the winter months, floods and hurricanes are increasingly common. It appears that emissions are not being reduced in time to stop out-of-control global warming. In that case, the world would face a collapse of the ecosystem and possibly of civilisation. Even though many scientists, activists and young people are already calling for firm action, many politicians seem unwilling to change the situation. In the last decade, one negative record after another had been broken, while hardly any serious legislation against climate change was passed.
Nevertheless, it is not too late for earth. In recent years, we have seen more and more positive development. Technological progress is paving the way for environmentally friendly modern life. Only ten years ago, the consumption of fossil fuels was the cheapest choice and whole regions flourished economically through lignite extraction. It seemed that nothing would change that in the foreseeable future. But coal consumption has fallen significantly since 2010. In emerging countries, consumption has declined and in industrialised countries, consumption has in fact fallen sharply. Renewable energies, which seemed too expensive at the beginning, quickly became competitive and replaced coal-fired power. The prices for solar energy, wind energy or hydro energy have fallen by 2/3 or more in just ten years and are being adopted more and more. In Norway, for example, every eighth newly purchased car is an electric or hybrid car.
Other economical sectors are also doing a lot of research to find sustainable alternatives and to reduce emissions. With climate change increasingly in the spotlight, more and more people are engaged in developments towards a sustainable future. Current research topics include artificial meat, cement and electronics. The more these technologies are used, the cheaper they become and the more people have access to them. Nevertheless, questions regarding the contribution of the individual arise. Here are some tips on how to make your workspace more sustainable, both at home and in the office.
Sustainability in the office
First of all, it is important to check the energy certificate before purchasing new appliances. The energy-saving functions offered by most devices have a major impact on power consumption. So make sure it is activated on your currently used devices and that you switch on the energy-saving mode as soon as you leave your desk. By activating sleep mode on just one computer you can cut CO2 emissions by 136 kg per year. Nevertheless, make sure to switch off the devices completely after work and at night, as the computer’s power-saving function still consumes 50 % of the electricity. Automatic systems, such as timers that switch off the appliances, might help doing so. This will not only save CO2, but also money.
Furthermore, multifunctional appliances consume less electricity. Printers that combine several activities, such as printing, copying and scanning documents, consume less power than three individual devices would.
Lighting usage in companies also has a strong impact on the environment. Small adjustments in the office can help to provide more daylight, a different layout or room dividers can make the room appear larger and provide more natural lighting. Make also sure to turn off the lights in rooms or corridors that are not being used. Easy-to-install motion detectors are a good choice here. Another way to save energy is to properly regulate the temperature in offices, as air conditioning and heating systems consume lots of power. Of course the temperature should be convenient enough to guarantee productive work and satisfied employees. However, simply switching off the climate regulation at night already has a significant impact. These are just a few ideas that can be implemented in a company to save emissions. You can basically save energy, resources and money at every corner. For example by buying environmentally friendly products, sustainable consumables and last but not least, having a sustainable supply chain. Small contributions from each employee, like using the stairs instead of the lift, have a positive impact.
Another issue is the printing of documents. The Corona pandemic has already forced many organisations to digitalise their operations. Printing guidelines can help to ensure that only the most necessary documents are printed out and that all other documents are made available digitally. However, if a printout is necessary, double-sided printing can at least reduce the amount of paper used. Sustainable printing paper and cartridges also help to make printing less harmful to the environment. Estimates show that around 18 trees are cut down annually for the paper consumption of ten employees.
So make sure to recycle as much paper as possible! Documents or papers that are no longer needed can be collected and used as scratch paper, for handwritten notes or even as colouring paper for children.
Sustainability in the homeoffice
Due to the Corona pandemic, many employees were forced to work from home. Since the home office regulations expired on March 19, companies can now decide for themselves whether they want to continue to offer home office, return to the office obligation or introduce the possibility of hybrid working. Since the (occasional) home office has become well established and brings many advantages, it will probably continue to be offered by many in the future. In the following, you will find out how you can also do something for the environment at home.
Tips already mentioned above, such as reusing recycled paper, putting the laptop into power-saving mode and switching it off in the evening, can be of course also applied at home. Nevertheless, there are some other points that can be considered, especially at home.
Proper ventilation leads to less heating. Occasional shock ventilation provides more fresh air and saves more heating energy than leaving the window tilted all day. Online meetings and video streams consume more energy than some people think. Simple tweaks such as a smaller screen for video streaming, turning off the camera or disabling the autoplay function for videos can significantly reduce data traffic. There are also sustainable alternatives for searching the web. WWF’s (Worlds Wildlife Fund) Panda Search offers a good alternative to Google and half of their advertisement revenue is used for WWF projects. Furthermore, both energy and costs can be saved by choosing the right electricity supplier. Green electricity is now hardly any more expensive than normal electricity, and comparison portals offer good premiums. Avoiding is always better than finding sustainable alternatives, though. Switch off your devices at the end of the day and don’t forget to unplug charging cables that are not being used. What many people do not know: The charger consumes electricity even nothing is plugged in.
In this article, we have shown you the many ways to reduce your carbon footprint at home and at work. Small adjustments such as proper ventilation, reducing paper and saving electricity make a huge difference. With the right steps and actions, climate change can be halted to the right extent. To guarantee a green planet for future generations.