MBA Lawyers Eco-Challenge Eco-Tips
These tips help you in greening the
practice of law by reducing energy and resource consumption.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Environmentally 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
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.
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.
1. Don't print employee handbooks. Store manuals, policies and
other documents online and provide employees to access PDF
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
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
3. Use only rechargeable batteries in battery-powered devices.
Regular batteries go into landfills and pollute the earth.