MBA Lawyers Eco-Challenge Eco-Tips

Issue May 2008

Tips are published each week in e-Journal and Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.

Energy conservation

1. Reduce the amount of electricity used in your office by cutting down on light usage.
• Turn off lights in all rooms when not in use.
• Install motion detectors in areas such as hallways, conference rooms, bathrooms and kitchens.
• Replace older light bulbs with com-
pact fluorescent light or light emitting diode bulbs.

2. If your office is in a building you do not own, work with your landlord to implement sustainable practices. For guidance in this area, view the Environ-
mental Request to Landlord section of Here are a few examples of initiatives:
• Work with your landlord to encourage energy savings by installing compact fluorescent bulbs and timers.
• Encourage your landlord to buy green power. Visit
• Discuss with your landlord the possi-
bility of having your utility provider com-
plete a free energy audit, in just your space, or the whole building.
• Educate your landlord on sustainable building practices used by the U.S. Green Building Council LEED program. Visit
• Promote the installation of a green roof. Visit

Environmental conservation

1. Promoting green at your office:
• Invite and promote educational speak-
ers on sustainability to be part of office training.
• Implement a workplace giving pro-
gram that supports environmental nonprofits.
• Employers should consider matching employee donations.

Environmentally conscious purchases

1. Think about the impact of all the products you buy for the office, even those seemingly as innocent as hand soap. When purchasing dishwashing liquid, hand soap and automatic dishwashing detergent for use in office kitchens and bathrooms, choose those free of toxic substances, including phosphates, triclosan, chlorine and/or other antibacterial ingredients.

2. To help your office implement these tips, view a comprehensive list of Green Resources on the Eco-Challenge Web page at The resources list where you can purchase green office products includes:
• The Green Office:
• The Sustainable Group:
• Energy Star:
• Atlas Water:

Greenhouse gas reduction

• Do your part to reduce gas consumption and traffic congestion.
• Set up a ride-sharing or carpooling system at your office.
• Allow employees to work from home on a regular basis.
• Set up conferences over the phone or via the Web instead of in person.
• Provide incentives for employees to use public transportation instead of their cars.
• When workers travel for business, ensure they rent fuel-efficient cars.

Paper reduction

1. If double-sided printing is not yet an option in your office, use the clean side of discarded paper to print all documents for internal use, including drafts, e-mails, notices and reports.

2. Whenever possible, use electronic delivery of documents instead of paper. Lawyers use 10 times more paper than the average office worker:
• File with courts and agencies using their online options.
• Route interoffice memoranda and reports through the office using e-mail or an Intranet page.
• Set up fax machines to receive messages electronically.

3. Cut down on the number of sheets of paper used for print or copy jobs. Each individual lawyer in the United States consumes a ton of paper each year, about the equivalent of 24 trees.
• Choose copy machines and printers that have an option to print on both sides of one sheet of paper. Instruct everyone in the office to use that option for each print job.
• Use smaller font sizes, wider margins and no extra spaces between paragraphs and sentences.

Sustainable practices

1. Buy reusable coffee mugs for your employees or yourself and use them when you get your caffeine fix for refills in your office or the local coffee shop.

2. Cut down on waste and disposables in your office and work toward recycling items you are no longer using:
• Arrange for your ink cartridge supplier to pick up used cartridges for reuse, and/or purchase remanufactured cartridges, rather than new ones, for laser printers.
• Provide pitchers with filtered water rather than bottled water, to employees and visitors.
• Donate old office equipment, computers and supplies.

3. Conserve water use in the office.
• Install low-flow toilets and aerators in all sink faucets.
• Post signs asking users to use as little water as possible.
• Establish regular maintenance of sinks, toilets and other areas that use water to catch and repair leaks.

4. Change the way staff and visitors eat and drink at your office.
• Install dishwashers in all kitchens.
• Replace disposable cups, plates and utensils with high-quality mugs, glasses, plates and silverware.
• Replace single-serve coffee filters, creamers and sugar with refillable carafes and/or containers.