Minimizing Your Carbon Footprint At Work

Offices can generate a great deal of carbon dioxide. Depending upon your workplace, you may be able to reduce your contribution to CO2 production.

Turn off the lights whenever possible. If you have your own office, this isn't hard to do. But you may not have a choice if you work in an open office environment -- not everyone cares to work in the dark.

Use occupancy sensors for rooms that only have occasional use. An occupancy sensor detects when someone walks into a room. The sensor triggers the lights for that space. After a period of inactivity, the lights turn off again automatically. This is ideal for supply rooms that aren't constantly occupied.

Use sleep mode on your computer if you're going to be away from your desk for a few minutes. Turn your computer completely off if you'll be gone for several hours.

Avoid generating waste paper whenever possible. Use electronic copies of documents instead. Paper production creates a lot of carbon dioxide. First, trees are natural carbon sinks -- cutting them down deprives us of their carbon-soaking abilities. It takes energy to cut down trees, transport them, process the wood into paper, transport the paper and then print a document. Conserving paper can save a lot of energy.

Recycle paper and other waste at work. If your workplace doesn't have a recycling program, start one. You may also want to look into purchasing recycled paper for printing needs.

Avoid using disposable cups or bottles. Instead, use a ceramic coffee cup, or a reusable bottle or canteen. You'll generate less waste and reduce your footprint in the process.

If possible, take public transportation or use a carpool to get to work. If you can walk or bike to work, that's even better.

It may seem like the efforts you take to reduce your carbon footprint are miniscule. But it's true that every little bit helps. It'll take more than conservation and energy efficiency to solve environmental problems, but without these changes, the problems will become worse -- and at a faster rate.