How Can I Reduce My Carbon Footprint in My Home Office?

The year 2020 and well into 2021 brought a lot of lemons to the table. And if you’re anything like me, you were privileged enough to pivot really quickly to a predominantly virtual and digital world. Whether it was converting becoming an expert in virtual event production and/or your dining room into your new home office, you made it work. 

I want to celebrate the fact that the reduction in commuting to and from work and in-person events drastically cuts down carbon emissions! 

But with so many people not only experiencing Zoom burnout, but have you thought about the impact your home office has had on the environment? 

Here are 5 things you can start implementing to reduce your carbon footprint in your home office right now.

1. Turn Off and Unplug

Turning things off when you’re away from your desk is key — this includes things like your computer (laptop), monitor and lights. But don’t forget, turn off your video while in a meeting, or webinar type of event when possible. Remember, you can significantly reduce your carbon footprint by 60-96% when keeping your camera off!

Unplug things when no longer needed, for example unplug your laptop charger when your laptop is fully charged so that it’s not continuously using electricity. 

And many people (myself included) are guilty for leaving our phone chargers plugged in because we need to have it readily available. My solution to this — buying a smart plug. I’ve sent a timer on the accompanying app for it to turn on at 10:30pm and off at 6:00am each day. That way my phone gets charged while I’m asleep and I don’t have to worry about physically unplugging it from the wall!

MY TOP TIP: Use a power bar or smart plug and plug all your electronic devices into that, and when you leave your desk for the day, either turn off the power bar or set a timer with your smart plug to turn off automatically! 

2. Reduce

Along those same lines of reducing your video time during meetings and events, if it’s not possible — perhaps try using a smaller device. For example, if it’s a small group chat (4 people or less), maybe use your tablet or even your phone to conduct the call. Far less electricity is consumed when you have to charge your phone or tablet than it is for your laptop.

Reducing physical waste always comes back to the question of asking yourself if you need something and why you need it in the first place. Being a conscious consumer is easily your best avenue for decreasing your environmental impact. 

In addition to this, reducing your physical waste also means keeping your documents digital! And to go even further, delete unnecessary documents and emails! 

Go ahead, hit unsubscribe from newsletters that no longer serve you. Not only will your inbox be far less overwhelming, you’ll also be helping the planet!

3. Go Offline

Does your meeting or chat need to be on video? Why not try a good ol’ regular phone call instead? Or maybe it can be clarified via email or better yet, send a quick message via text. 

On another note about going offline — is downloading favourite songs and playlists from Spotify onto your local device and playing it in offline mode. For those songs that you play OVER AND OVER again, by using offline mode — you’re eliminating the use of the data centers and servers that are used by Spotify to stream the song. This way you’re only using the immediate electricity and battery power of your device.

This is such a small and simple thing we can all do! Check out this video for more info on how and why it’s important to do so!

Woman on her cellphone while looking down a the clipboard in her hand

4. Adjust Your Thermostat

The majority of your energy consumption in the house comes from the HVAC equipment. By minimizing the use of heat and air conditioning (A/C) can be a huge help. Meaning, the closer the temperature you keep inside to outside temperature the less energy used and more savings on your bill! 

During the warmer months, limit the times in which the A/C is turned on. By keeping curtains or blinds closed during peak day and opening up windows and utilizing a fan will also help keep temperatures cooler. 

In the winter, ensure that your windows are properly sealed and layer up or use blankets while keeping temperatures on the lower end.

Other options include auto mode, so that neither heat nor air conditioning is running 24/7 but only when the temperature changes. 

Again, when not required just turn it off!

Side view of an electric fan

5. Upgrade Appliances

Not always possible given resources, but where possible upgrade your electronic appliances to energy efficient ones — look for Energy Star certification.

With the lighting in your office, are they LED light bulbs? Maybe the next time you need to change a bulb — replace it with an LED one.

Remember you DO NOT need to do this all at once nor all the damn time. There’s a time and place for everything. It’s about being conscious of your actions, and doing what you can when you can that makes all the difference. But by many lovely humans doing their part, we can collectively make a difference and kick climate change’s butt! 

Close up of a smart digital thermostat controls

P.S. Are you interested in getting some accountability and reducing the digital impact of your day-to-day or even your business? Join the next round of Sustainability Mastermind! 

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