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MBA Lawyers Eco-Challenge Eco-Tips

These tips help you in greening the practice of law by reducing energy and resource consumption.

July 16

Recycle: Energy ConservationEnergy Conservation

1. Save energy by installing a power management feature. The features puts computers, CPU, hard drive, etc. into a low-power "sleep mode" after a designated period of inactivity. Low-power modes for computers reduce the spinning of the hard disk, which decreases power consumption. Simply hitting a key on the keyboard or moving the mouse awakens the computer in a matter of seconds.

2. A simple green step to take is adjusting your water heater. If you lower the thermostat on your hot-water heater from about 145 degrees to 120 degrees, the change isn't likely to be noticeable. This step could save you more than $20 a year if you heat water with gas and more than $50 if your water heater is electric.

3. When choosing pens and markers for your office, steer clear of disposable writing utensils. Instead, consider purchasing pens and markers that are both made of recycled materials and refillable.

4. Get more exercise and save electricity at the same time. Instead of using the elevator at your office, or when visiting other offices, get your heart pumping by climbing the stairs.

5. A standard hot & cold bottled water cooler can use more energy than a large refrigerator. Water coolers in businesses consume about 4 billion kWh/year. Certain qualified models require about half as much energy as a standard unit and use about half the energy of conventional models. Take a closer look at your water cooler to and learn how much energy it is really using. If necessary, consider changing it to a qualified model, like Energy Star.

6. Shut off your monitor if you aren't going to use it for more than 20 minutes, and the whole system if you're not going to use it for more than two hours. This habit will reduce wear and tear on your hardware, extending its life, and save you an average of $90 in electricity a year, according to the US Department of Energy.

7. Save on your utility bills by unplugging a device or turning off the power strip it's plugged into when the device is not in use. Many devices continue to draw power, called phantom electricity, even when switched off.

8. Create an after hours and weekend thermostat setting: If you know your employees aren't going to be in the office, create a setting that conserves more energy during these hours. Be sure to allow an override function so that it can be changed if someone decides to come in to work.

9. Buy smaller monitors: You can reduce your monitor's consumption by up to 30 percent by using a monitor only two inches smaller.

10.  Conduct an informal audit of your year-round energy consumption by reviewing your utility bills, or hire an auditor. Use the information to guide ways to cut your energy consumption and set goals.

Recycle: environment consciousEnvironmentally Conscious Purchases

1. Shop for second-hand goods to keep items out of the garbage dump and save you money. This applies to furniture and electronics, among other items, you can use both in your practice as well as your home.

2. When you need to replace an office computer, think before purchasing. Consider a notebook instead of a laptop to save on energy consumption. If you must choose a desktop, look into those that are labeled energy-efficient. PCs that use no more than 30 watts of power when inactive have the Energy Star label. Remember to recycle, not throw away, your old computer.

Ozone FriendlyGreenhouse Gas Reduction:

1. If you're able to work at home you can help cut down on traffic congestion and the resulting pollutants released into the air. Since even public transportation costs money, even telecommuting one day a week can save you as much as $1500 a year and allow you to spend more quality time with your family.

2. Allow employees to work longer hours, but fewer days, in order to let them stay at home once a week or more.

3. When traveling on business opt for the train or bus over a car. If you must rent a car, choose a ental agencies that offer hybrid and high-mileage vehicles.

Recycle: Recycled Paper Paper Reduction

1. Don't print employee handbooks. Store manuals, policies and other documents online and provide employees to access PDF copies.

2. Program the fax machine so that it does not automatically print out a confirmation report for every fax.

3. At meetings, present on PowerPoint instead of passing out printed packets. E-mail the presentation to those who attended the meeting.

Recycle: R LogoSustainable Practices

1.  Car maintenance can help you save money while saving the environment. A clean air filter can improve gas mileage by as much as 10 percent, and can save you 28 cents a gallon. In addition, poor alignment forces your engine to work harder (as well as wearing out your tires), and this can reduce fuel economy by as much as 10 percent. Get a tune-up and replace that cracked gas cap to save even more money.

2.  Not only is green cleaning a refreshing alternative to toxic cleaning products, but it saves you money both at work and home. Instead of buying an endless array of chemicals from the store, opt to do it the old-fashioned way with vinegar, baking soda, borax and elbow grease. Put the money you save to better use.

3. Use only rechargeable batteries in battery-powered devices. Regular batteries go into landfills and pollute the earth.


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