As the COVID-19 Pandemic continues, employees will be working from home. Working from home provides a new opportunity to incorporate sustainable practices into your daily work routine. Similar to the steps you can take to become a Pitt Green Office on campus, we’ve compiled a list of ways to make your home office more sustainable.
For employees who have a Pitt Green Office designation, you can continue to support your team’s mission at home by participating in our brand new Pitt Green Home Office Challenge! In this challenge, you will be able to learn about how to make your home workspace more sustainable. Our Carbon Savings Calculator will give you an estimate of how many pounds of CO2e you are saving each year. You’ll also be able to compare your results to other Pitt employees on the Green Home Office Challenge Results page.
- Reduce your computer’s power usage by putting it in power saving mode while you’re not using it. Leaving your computer on all day costs you $75 per year.
- Proper lighting is an important part of any office! To conserve energy & cut electric costs, set up your office in a space with natural lighting.
- Replace light bulbs with energy efficient LEDs, which save 75% more energy than incandescent bulbs
- Install motion sensor lighting that will turn off when a room is not in use.
- Turn off lights & electronics when you leave your home office! Turning off lights can save 10 to 20% of your total home electricity usage!
- Estimate the energy use of your appliances to learn how much you could save!
- Turn off additional monitors, speakers, printers, and scanners when they are not in use. To make this task easier, use a power strip!
- Ensure that small appliances like coffeemakers and microwaves shut off when not in use.
- In warmer months, shut your blinds/shades to trap cold air in and keep heat out. During the winter, do the same to trap heat inside & keep the cold out.
Reducing & Diverting Waste
- Understand and follow your local recycling procedure.
- Learn what can be composted at home and consider setting up a home compost bin.
- Eliminate printing altogether or try to reduce how often you use your printer.
- Wear a reusable cloth face mask if you must meet in-person for work.
- Use reusable glasses and water bottles to eliminate plastic waste.
- If you use a Keurig, use compostable coffee pods.
- If you have a traditional coffee pot, use a reusable filter and/or compost paper filters and grounds.
- When ordering takeout, ask that single-use utensils not be included.
- Try to not eat ready-to-go meals that are pre-packaged in plastic.
- Switch to compostable, organic, fair trade, or shade-grown coffee brands. Buy coffee in bulk & use compostable filters or k-cups.
- Look for fair trade, organic teas in compostable or recyclable packaging
- Try to reduce your carbon footprint by reducing your meat intake and eating vegetarian and/or vegan meals.
If you must go into work, think about utilizing an active or shared mode of transportation such as walking, biking, busing, carpooling or vanpooling to help reduce emissions.
Health & Wellbeing
- Schedule a lunch break every day
- Turn blue-light setting on computer screen and/or mobile device screen(s) turned on to protect your eyes.
- Take breaks away from the computer screen to keep active.
- Get at least 30 minutes of exercise each day.
- Have an ergonomically healthy workspace setup.
- Schedule video calls to keep up social interactions
- Practice mindfulness in either a scheduled or regular way.
Creating A Sustainable Culture at Home
- Use environmentally friendly cleaning supplies
- Incorporate plants into your home office to decrease stress, add tranquility, improve indoor air quality, and help with attention restoration.
- When shopping for new appliances, make sure your choices are ENERGY STAR certified
- Try to incorporate more ethically-sourced products into your daily life
To learn more, check out our working remotely page!