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I didn’t make many New Year’s resolutions this year. I cut out all those destined to fail, and instead focused on some that I have at least a little hope of achieving. A lot were work related, and one in particular applies primarily to web work. That resoultion? To be more green in my work practices.
It was something I hadn’t paid particular attention to since leaving an office setting. At my last corporate gig, I was instrumental is establishing a proper recycling program. It was easy because it was me vs. the corporate climate. At home, with no machine to rage against, I hadn’t even realized how much could be done.
1. Turn it Off
Seems like an obvious one, and it’s been the subject of countless public service ads, but it bears repeating. Especially for those sneaky peripherals that some of us like to leave on perpetually, just in case they need to spring in to sudden service. That means monitors, speakers, and yes, even powered USB hubs and drives. Best way to affect a quick and easy shutdown? A power bar with an on/off switch to take them all off-grid at once.
2. Buy Less, Give More
If you work a lot with computers, chances are you, like me, really enjoy getting new gadgets. Which is why this measure is so difficult. My tiny apartment is literally strewn about with knick-knacks and gizmos I thought would increase my productivity or benefit my workflow in some way. In most cases, I was wrong.
My solution? First of all, be much more judicious about purchases in the future. Also, declutter without throwing anything away, giving some of the stuff to people I know can actually use it. Case in point, an old Wacom Graphire4 tablet, which I no longer use since buying my Cintiq 12WX. Magically, it becomes a gift for my girlfriend to ease her transition into the age of digital illustration.
3. Order in Bulk
One of the benefits of working from home is that I’m always here to receive packages. Which means I order them a lot more frequently, and often from the same source. Now, I’ve decided to take a cue from my corporate past and finally start consolidating my orders.
This saves me money, since I more often break the cost threshold that qualifies for free shipping, and it saves the environment in a number of ways, i.e., less packaging, less carbon emissions spent in the delivery of items, etc. It takes a little more foresight and planning on my part, but those planning skills are also a benefit, in the long run.
4. Shift Your Day
This is another tough one, depending on when you like to work. I was never really a morning person, but time and circumstance have led to great improvement in that area. Now that comes in handy, since I wake whenever too much day light prevents me from sleeping.
Turning that in to a green web working strategy is simple enough. Work when there’s day light to do so by, in order to conserve the amount of energy you spend on heat, artificial lighting, etc. This one is particularly easy to do for those whose schedules are largely arranged at their own discretion.
None of these are extreme, and surprisingly, don’t even involve buying carbon credits (I’m still not exactly sure how those work), but they are a good beginning towards a more environmentally friendly web working culture. In many ways, those of us who work from home have to be extra vigilant, since we don’t have corporate programs in place to help us do our part.
What other measures do you practice/can you suggest for those looking to be more green in 2009?