Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Lower Your Home Business Carbon Footprint

There has been an effort to help us all reduce the carbon footprint we leave for years now.  I keep hearing about going green, I see the television commercials and I try to keep "in-touch" with how I can make a difference, even if it makes a small impact. And then it hit me! 

I was cleaning out some client files the other day to make room for - yes, you guessed it, more client files. I am always shocked at the amount of paper I produce in my office.  It made me start thinking about how I can make a change in my habits and lower my own carbon footprint - just in my home office. I'm going to list some of the things I found that I can do and would love to hear how you are reducing your carbon footprint as well.

Bottled Water
I give credit to my husband on this one.  Each day, I would take my trash can and empty the cans and bottles into our recycling bags in the garage.  I drink 4-6 bottles of water daily along with 4-6 diet cokes.  My day is from 8 am until, well, let's just say I am a very late night person! Craig decided he wanted to cut costs and eliminate some of the plastic bottles. We now have a nice Britta pitcher sitting in the kitchen and we fill up our glasses when we want more water.  The funny thing is, I find myself drinking even more water than before. We decided we would take this a step further and now purchase the 2 liter bottles of soda, with that, I'm drinking less!

I also own Lighthouse Creative Group - a full service creative marketing agency.  Lighthouse is where most of the paper is produced. I keep samples of my client work for my portfolio. I am now converting my portfolio to be 100% online so I can reduce the extra paper in the house. Another tip for you is to make sure you are using all of the paper needed when you have a print project created.  I recently designed a beautiful invitation for a client and we designed a bookmark for the event so all of the paper was used in the printing process.  If you have a good printer, there will not be an extra charge because it is all printed at the same time. 

You can reduce the amount of paper coming in to your home by going paperless on your bills. Many companies will send your invoices via email, eliminating the clutter in your mailbox.  I was talking to my mail person yesterday and she was telling me that the Post Office is really hurting from the reduction in snail mail. While I don't like to think of any business hurting, I do like to see a more efficient way of doing business. I also stopped printing out my emails unless it is something I need for verification - like plane tickets, etc.

Direct Light
If you have enough light coming through your windows, use that light and save the electricity.

I know products have to be protected for shipping but lately I feel like I need an engineering degree just to open them.  When possible, look for the products with the least amount of packaging. Carry a cloth bag with you when going to the office supply store, this will cut down the use of plastic or paper bags.

Energy-proof your house
This is a big one and one we need to work on as well.  Be sure your home is as energy efficient as you can make it today. I'm not suggesting you go out and make big purchases, that isn't even feasible. Here are a few things you can do that will make a difference in your electric bill and on the environment.
  1. Turn off and unplug electronic gadgets! Oh boy, if you could see my office, you would know this is a challenge at CHBBF. I have several printers, two computers, a monitor for editing, lights, cameras, action! Seriously, my office is Houston Control.  If you are not using an electronic device, turn it off and unplug it when possible. 
  2. Turn off lights, I bet you heard this when you were growing up, "Who pays the electric bill around here? Can't anyone turn off a light but me?" Parents are wise and now that we are those parents, let's follow their advice and turn off the lights! If you are not in the room, you don't need the light on.
  3. Open the windows and turn off the air. This may not be timely today, August is not the best month to make that suggestion.  When the day is nice and cool and you see the breeze moving through the trees, open the house up and enjoy that fresh air. When you are using the air or heat, make sure your house is closed up tight. 
  4. Keep your heating and air conditioning units maintained.  This is not that costly, and will save you money in the long run. We have a maintenance contract with a company for less than $200.00 per year. They call us when it's time to have the unit serviced and we are set to go for the season.
  5. Drive Less. Schedule your client appointments and errands to coincide with each other. If you can, walk to the park, store, etc.
I feel so blessed when I look at this world and know that God created it for us to enjoy. I don't do everything I should but I am taking steps to improve.  How about you - send us your ideas and let's reduce our carbon footprints together.


We know that in everything, God works with those who love Him, whom he has called in accordance with His purpose, to bring about what is good. -Romans 8:28

1 comment:

  1. Great ideas Karen! I am going to utilize that printing idea next time I have the opportunity to print a small bookmark at the bottom of the page to use the paper wisely and have an advertising handout that is simple and FREE!! Yipee! I love those free ideas!!

    Also, remember that when you have your paper shredded by a professional shredding company like ours, Shred Wise,Inc., 100% of your paper will be recycled! There's another tip for lowering your carbon footprint.