Apr 03

5 Ways To Make Your Workplace Eco-Friendly

Ways To Make Your Workplace Eco-Friendly

Image by Chris Potter

From melting polar ice caps to smog-filled cities, the threat of global warming isn’t going away. Despite the red flags and the bombardment of warnings, the majority of people continue to turn a blind eye to their carbon footprint. Ignorance really is bliss.

It’s all too easy to turn away and leave it to someone else, but if we all do that then nothing’s going to change.

Instead, you could make a few small changes to your day-to-day life that can have positive effects on the environment. You may not have the money or time to become totally green, but these short easy to do steps will leave you slightly more satisfied in the knowledge that you are doing your part.

Here are five quick and easy ways to make your workplace more eco-friendly:

1. Less Waste, More Recycling

Minimize the amount of waste that goes to landfill by installing recycling bins in your workplace. The majority of packaging can be recycled now, and you’ll find that most of your colleagues will happily ‘go green’ if you provide them with the opportunity to recycle items.

2. Use Less Energy

Your workplace may be a-buzz with energy, but make sure it’s not wasted electronic energy. Turn off equipment such as computers, chargers and lights when they’re not in use, and remind your colleagues to do the same.

3. Minimise Your Mileage

Don’t travel unnecessarily for company business if a conference call could achieve the same result. If you can’t avoid travelling, try to car share where possible.

4. Be Proud To Be Green

Lead the way in your workplace’s green revolution by displaying your green credentials for all to see. Update your email signature to say:

Think before you ink – please consider the environment and do not print unless absolutely necessary.

5. Print Double-Sided

It seems so simple, but by printing and photocopying on both sides of a sheet of paper, you’re cutting your energy and paper use in half. If you have an IT team, speak to them about making double-sided printing the automatic default on all of the company’s computers and photocopiers.

That’s five simple ways to a more eco-friendly office, but it doesn’t end there. You could even speak to your procurement team about buying environmentally friendly products like Xerox business paper, which is manufactured using less water, chemicals and energy.

Have you got a great idea on making workplaces more eco-friendly? If so, leave a comment below!

Featured images:

Matt Reilly is a professional copywriter. He blogs about the environment, the business world and the links between the two. He writes for Continua.

Jul 25

The Next Generation Of Turbines Go Underwater

The Next Generation Of Turbines Go Underwater, And They’re Coming Soon

BY MICHAEL J. CORENWed Jul 20, 2011

As the U.S. slowly abandons its dams, more and more pilot programs pop up for deriving power from tides and river currents. Welcome to a new age of water power.

Every day, enough water flows down America’s rivers and streams to power tens of millions of homes. With the era of big dams effectively over in the U.S., halted by the lack of suitable sites as much as environmental concerns, the time for hydrokinetic energy may just be dawning.

The ideas of using turbines, or other mechanical devices, to capture the energy of moving water is not a new one. Yet the technology for such hydrokinetic energy has met serious resistance from conditions below the surface. As water is 832 times denser than air, it poses tough engineering challenges for power generators who must contend with corrosion, stray electromagnetic fields, and rules to safeguard sealife.

“There’s a lot of electricity to be had from these device and probably fewer environmental impacts, says Glenn Cada, senior researcher at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, in the Department of Energy’s program to improve hydrokenetic technology and minimize the environmental impacts. “It’s not as easy as taking a taking a wind turbine and putting it under water. The forces are much greater. We are trying to understand how to make them sturdy enough to generate electricity from river currents.”

Demonstration projects in the Mississippi and New York’s East Rivers have been steadily perfecting the technology needed to capture this energy for almost a decade. Verdant Power’s Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy project in New York’s East River (soon to be expanded) has successfully operated six underwater turbines between 2006-2008, and delivering 70 megawatt hours to a nearby supermarket and parking garage in what the company called the “world’s first grid-connected array of tidal turbines.” Free Flow Power Power has installed its own turbines, resembling jet engines, in the Mississippi and is eying more than 50 expansion sites.

Now, everyone from state agencies to universities are racing to get into the game. Applications to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for new hydrokinetic sites have soared in the last three years: 79   have been approved since 2009 (almost double those as of 2008), and 145 more are awaiting final approval in  Missouri, Maine, Louisiana, New Jersey and other states.

Eventually, based on the ambitions of several energy developers, underwater fields of hundreds of turbines could generating enough megawatts to power cities around the country.

“We’re trying to prove these things right now,” says Cada.

[Image: Atlantis Resources Corporation]

Reach Michael J. Coren via Twitter or email.

Read More: World’s First Floating Wind Turbine Installed, Ready for Testing