November 14, 2018

Office Sustainability Tip of the Week

With everyone now back on campus and getting a handle on their schedule for the fall, we thought it would be a good time to remind faculty and staff about conserving energy in and around your work space.

Whether you work in an office with a lot of people or just a few, chances are there’s that one room or area where the lights are probably kept on even when not in use.  Is it a copy room that might have a few people going in and out every hour, but the lights are turned on in the morning and kept on until the last person leaves for the day?  What about your office kitchen?  It probably sees the most traffic early in the morning and between the hours of 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., but are the lights left on all day?

We don’t want to be working by candlelight or microwaving our Smart Ones Chicken Fettuccines in the dark, but take a moment to consider those spaces and other areas in your office where lights are left on for extended periods of time when clearly the space is not in use.

Consider your own personal office space as well.  My office has two light switches.  Flipping just one on in the morning does the trick.   Do you have windows in your office?  (Lucky!)  Consider the feasibility of using the natural light your office receives as opposed to the overhead fluorescent lighting.  Also, if you’re attending a short meeting, walking across campus, going to lunch – do you turn off the lights in your office?   Do you turn off your monitors? It’s in the best interest of maintaining a green office to do so.

Another tip in conserving energy is turning off your computer, printer, monitors, etc. when you leave for the day.  Even reducing the brightness of your laptop screen or computer monitor reduces energy use.

Hopefully you’re already doing some if not all of these little things that help to conserve energy.  If not, there’s no better time than now to start making these small changes.  And while you’re at it, take the opportunity to set an example for your co-workers by posting reminders and having these types of discussions during staff meetings or office gatherings.

If you have any suggestions for things we can all do differently each day to create more sustainable office environments, please feel free to leave a comment or email me the suggestion to be featured in a future Sustainability Tip of the Week.

Kevin Caffrey is the Senior Associate Registrar at UMW and serves as Staff Co-Chair of the President’s Council on Sustainability.  Formed in the fall of 2009, the PCS consists of faculty, staff, and students and reports both to the Executive Vice President for Administration and Finance and the Provost, serving a critical role in shaping administrative goals and objectives relating to campus sustainability.  Their first meeting of the fall semester will be held this Monday September 10th at 4:30PM in HCC 307.  Meetings generally last one hour and are open to employees, students, and the public .