In terms of making a positive impact on the environment, there may be nothing easier or more immediate around the office than simply “turning it off.” In one of the offices at Better World Books a few reminders have been posted to inform folks that there is a great deal of energy wasted by leaving things on.
For example, one poster reads, “Turn off monitors: Turning off one monitor saves 500 KWH/year. 1000 monitors turned off saves enough electricity to light about 280 homes each year.”
Hopefully the information provided by the posters can become common knowledge to those who view them every day. And what employee armed with this knowledge wouldn’t take notice and reconsider a wasteful habit, save the company money, and have a positive influence on the environment? And why wouldn’t they also take these habits home and even share them with others?
We have seen an immediate change in one department by simply bringing the monitor non-turning off habit to one manager’s attention. Though it had been a “policy” to turn off computer monitors in our location, the policy was slowly lost due to a lack of reminders and an influx of new hires. How long the poor habit was going on is not entirely known. However, on the day the problem was discovered, 17 monitors were left on. That is 17 monitors going 15 hours without being used. I am not going to do dive into that math (as I’m not entirely sure how KWH math works), but it is significant. And all it took was a reminder in a one minute conversation to refresh the fading habit. This habit, no doubt, can be sustained and have a positive impact for the environment and the company electric bill.
Any impact we can have on limit limiting the amount of fossil fuels used and nuclear waste created (system condition #2) is a positive one. As the Sustainability Primer notes, the substances created by nuclear power plants “cannot broken down and reintegrated within nature’s cycles.” In this part of the state where electricity is provided by nuclear power, any way that it can be limited is a good thing.
Personally, the American habit of keeping objects that run on electricity turned on when not in use has always troubled me. Without providing any measurable advantage and only producing costs and a having negative impact on the environment… There really isn’t any reason not to turn it off.