Greening the Workplace

Paper

  • Print only those documents for which fulfilling work duties require a hardcopy.
  • Utilize both sides of each piece of paper.
  • Stop providing individual office printers.
  • Designate limited hours of operation each week for the departmental printer/copier.

Electricity

  • Many office machines draw a significant amount of power when left in standby mode. Turn off all computers, battery back-ups, printers, photocopiers and scanners when use is not intended for more than several hours.
  • Adapters leach power when plugged in. When not being used, they are not plugged into outlet.
  • Lights are turned off when not in use. Use of natural light from windows is encouraged. Replace incandescent light bulbs with those that are energy-saving.
  • Miscellaneous appliances such as white noise machines are also turned off when not in use.

Air Conditioning

  • Set cooling units at a temperature that is as high as possible to still ensure reasonable comfort.
  • Caution employees to avoid frequently changing thermostat settings to satisfy individual interests.
  • Set thermostats even higher when the department is closed for extended periods to ensure that the space is not unnecessarily cooled during staff absence.
  • Close blinds on windows with full exposure to sun to deter heat, which lessens demand on air conditioning units.

Plastics and Other Disposables

  • Do not procure disposable drinking and eating utensils.
  • Minimize the use of plastic trashbags. Most trashcans do not need such liners and those that do can be reused repeatedly over months.
  • Batteries are known to contain a variety of chemicals and other toxins that are hazardous to health. Not only is their production detrimental, but improper disposal can result in these substances leaching into the environment. It is, therefore, important to minimize battery use. Obtain power cords for appliances when available. Also, only purchase rechargeable batteries for those essential items that have no alternative power source.

Computers and Related Technology

Encourage employees to be aware of the implications of computer use as yet another form of consumption and be more conscious that computing is not as innocuous, carbon-neutral, clean and green as widely believed. For example, computer servers are quite energy-intensive, as they draw heavily on electricity to be kept cool and functional 24-hours per day. Most of it is generated by greenhouse gas emitting and otherwise polluting power plants. This problem is much more difficult to resolve in a department that relies on servers for internet research, email and record systems, however, the following are considered:

  • A simple internet check born of curiosity about the weather can activate hundreds of servers and the use of untold electricity. Bottom-line is that off-line for such non-essential services is better; at least until the power industry is cleaner.
  • High-tech gadgetry from computers to cell-phones, like batteries, is manufactured using ingredients (e.g., rare earth elements) and processes (e.g., mining) that are extremely harmful to the planet. For this reason, prudence is necessary in their care and replacement. They are made to last as long as possible. For example, one PSC cell-phone has been in use since 2008.

Procurement

  • To reduce overall consumption, reusing or recycling the old and refusing to acquire the new is encouraged. This has the added benefit of being consistent with attempts to make SGU more fiscally sound.
  • Audit each purchase order to ensure absolute necessity for the requested item and minimal negative impact on the Earth.
  • Procure locally manufactured items (e.g., furniture) rather than importing from abroad. This has also proven to be cheaper, creates jobs in Grenada and results in more durable products..
  • Protectively care for office furnishings and other work tools to ensure that they remain useful for as long as possible.

Air Travel

Travel via airplanes is one of the most damaging behaviors that individual human beings can engage in, therefore:

  • Keep flying employment candidates to the island for interviewing to a minimum. Phone interviewing job candidates has been shown to be sufficiently effective as a screening tool for good employees.
  • Flying visiting professors to Grenada is also minimized. It is preferable to rely on local expertise for green and other reasons.

Departmental Closing Procedures

Prior to departing for the night, weekend or holiday, the last person exiting the department ensures:

  • Out = Off. All lights and appliances are turned off.
  • Blinds over windows with full exposure to the sun are closed.
  • If the department will be closed for an extended period, air conditioner thermostats are adjusted upwards.