Setting Up an Eco-Friendly Home Office
Not everyone gives too much thought into whether or not their home office is eco-friendly, but if you’re trying to live a green lifestyle, it’s likely that you’ll want your space to be as environmentally friendly as possible while still being comfortable and stylish. Now of course you can go all out and purchase organic and eco-friendly furniture, but that can get costly. By upcycling some of your old furniture, you can save yourself some money and also reduce the amount of waste that makes its way into your local landfill.
Though upcycling is a great option, you’ll still end up having to spend some money on your home office, as certain products don’t last forever and are pretty much kaput after they wear out. Don’t worry though, it shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg, and despite the low cost, these items are still eco-friendly. Here are some ideas as to what you might need to set up your home office.
It can be rather hard to work in the dark, so the first thing you might want to purchase for your home office is a light bulb or two. To find the most environmentally friendly bulbs, I would recommend that you take a look at the app Light Bulb Finder. If you can’t access the app, the main piece of information you should know about light bulbs is whether or not the bulb you are purchasing is a CFL or LED bulb. Both are more environmentally friendly when it comes to energy efficiency.
We all know that interior paint gives off some nasty fumes, and it turns out that there’s an eco-friendly alternative to the usual interior paint that you find at your local home improvement store. ECOS Paints sells interior and exterior paints that are organic, non-toxic, and have zero VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), making them a great and eco-friendly choice for not only your home office, but your whole house!
To reduce the amount of waste, it’s probably a good idea to go as paperless as possible. However, there are more environmentally friendly options for paper for those times when you really can’t go without it. It’s not hard to find paper that is made from recycled material at your local office store, and if you’d like to get something a bit fancier, take a look at Green Field Paper Company.
What makes Green Field Paper Company especially unique is that they sell plantable seed paper. They also offer specialty paper and holiday products such as gift wrap, tags, cards, and even plantable ornaments.
Your choices in hardware can be important too. Old machines use up more energy compared to newer ones that are usually Energy Star certified. When choosing a monitor, LED monitors are the best choice, but whenever you begin shopping for your hardware, always check to see if the products are Energy Star certified before you purchase them. Energy Star certified products are bound to be the most energy efficient.
After you get your hardware set up, you might want to install some eco-friendly software on your device. Here are a few that I recommend:
Ecofont Home Edition
Printing documents can get costly if you do it a lot and the ink used isn’t particularly environmentally friendly. However, by using Ecofont Home Edition, you can save up to 50 percent on your ink and toner use during printing. Reducing your ink and toner usage will save you some money, while also helping the environment.
Reusing, reducing, and recycling are important steps to living a more eco-friendly lifestyle after all!
Though it is a security program, ExpressVPN can help you reduce waste, making it another good option for your device. Prolonging the lifespan of your computer, tablet, and smartphone is important, as many of these devices’ manufacturing process are not particularly environmentally friendly. Besides the manufacturing process being an issue, often these devices end up in the landfill after they crash, and of course, new ones are purchased to replace the old ones, adding to the problem. High demand leads to a larger supply of them being manufactured and more carbon emissions.
ExpressVPN is what’s known as a Virtual Private Network (VPN) service. When you connect to the VPN, you are routing your internet traffic through the remote server of the VPN. There are servers all over the globe, and by routing your internet traffic through them, the IP address (which tips off websites and such to your actual location) of the server will be shown instead of your own. Your connection will also be encrypted.
The main purpose of a VPN is to protect your device from malware and hackers, so by doing so, you’ll be able to prolong the life of your gadgets while also protecting your personal information at the same time.
Ecobutton Halo is an interesting and affordable tool that will save you some money as well as reduce your CO2 emissions. As the name implies, it’s literally a button that plugs into the USB port on your computer, but it’s paired with software as well. Whenever you need to step away from your computer for a few minutes, you can press the button, and Ecobutton Halo will switch your computer to a low energy-saving mode.
In the program, you’ll be able to view your CO2 and electricity savings, so you’ll know how much of an impact you’re making by using the Ecobutton.
Keeping It Clean
Now that you have the majority of the room put together with your bulbs, paint, paper, hardware, and software, it might be wise to know how to keep it clean and organized. The organization part mostly relies on you, though some storage compartments could help. Depending on the type of desk you use, you might have that pretty much covered already.
But what about keeping your home office clean? It’s no mystery that conventional cleaners can be harmful to both you and the environment. Remember the VOCs I mentioned earlier?
Conventional cleaners sometimes have those as well. To avoid all the junky ingredients in cleaners, switch to a natural alternative such as Sal Suds. Sal Suds is an all-in-one cleaner that you can dilute and use to clean just about every inch of your house.
Decorating your home office with live plants (preferably organic) can help improve the air quality as well, so by keeping plants in your office and also using natural cleaners, you should have a pretty eco-friendly work space.
Enjoy Your Office
The tips mentioned in this article are only a small portion of what you can do to make your home office eco-friendly. Searching the web should bring you a few more suggestions, but whatever you do, remember to keep in mind the environmental impact of the products you are using and bringing into your home. Even something as simple as candles can be less than eco-friendly, especially when they are made with synthetic fragrances.
Most importantly, try to re-use and recycle or “upcycle” your old goods before you toss them. Papers that don’t contain personal information should always be recycled and just doing that can make a big difference in how you affect the environment.