Low carbon workplaces

Top tips to be more eco at work

Easy ways to reduce carbon emissions in your workplaceGreening office image

Being more environmentally-aware at work can save your department money, carbon and win you brownie points - it's a lot easier than you might think...


  • Always turn off lights when leaving a room and make maximum use of daylight. Where possible use low energy lights.
  • Avoid leaving appliances, on standby and don’t leave laptops on charge unnecessarily. Each piece of office equipment may only use a small amount of energy but it all adds up.
  • Switch computer monitors off when leaving your office for more than five minutes and ensure you workstation has the latest powerdown energy software. (For more information ring the IT help desk on extention number 2253)
  • If you use an electric kettle for boiling water, boil only as much water as you need for your drinks.


  • The Carbon Trust recommends that workplaces should be heated to 21 degrees Celsius. For every 1 degree Celsius increase heating costs increase by the equivalent of 8-10%.
  • DO NOT use portable electric heaters. Instead report your heating problems to the maintenance help desk on extention 2319).
  • If temperatures are too high turn the heating down rather than open windows and if you have draft issues report them to the maintenance help desk on extention 2319.
  • Make sure you dress appropriately for the season.


  • Air conditioned buildings use about twice as much energy as naturally ventilated ones. Even small "comfort cooling" systems are expensive to run.
  • Ensure that cooling is not running at the same time as the heating!
  • Don't over-cool an area or an empty building
  • Keep doors and windows closed in air-conditioned areas
  • Switch off equipment and lighting where possible to reduce heat gains


  • Don’t leave the tap running and report dripping taps.
  • Dont use more water than you need, e.g. avoid overfilling kettles.
  • Request tap water for departmental meetings instead of bottled water.
    (Bottled spring water has a substantially greater carbon footprint than tap water).
  • Replace bottle fed water coolers with mains versions
    Bottle-fed water coolers are typically 150% more expensive to run than mains-fed water coolers (34.0 pence per litre vs. 0.22 pence per litre respectively) and have significant additional environmental impacts through food miles.


  • Specify energy efficient equipment when purchasing or leasing
  • Buy Fairtrade tea and coffee when bought with departmental money
  • Provide reusable cups and glasses for visitors to use in preference to single-use disposable drinking vessels
  • Or at least ensure that the disposal drinking vessels are recycled appropriately or bio-degradable


  • Use a journey planner to calculate the most energy and resource efficient mode of transport for your business trips; it varies by distance and number of people traveling - you may be surprised
  • Do you have to go to that meeting? Will a video conference or skype call work instead? It will save you a lot of time and money
  • Give your car (and wallet) a much needed rest. At least one day a week, try a different method of commuting to driving in - car share with a colleague or dust your bike off as an alternative to going to the gym


  • Set your local printers to double-sided printing as their default setting.
    Use duplex when sending prints to shared printer (duplex printing typically reduces total paper consumption by 40%)
  • A4 paper printed on one side can be reused internally as scrap paper.
    Either made into note books or put into local printers for draft prints
  • Send all your printer and toner cartridges to be recycled
  • Ensure that all recyclable waste is disposed of appropriately. Do not 'contaminate' recycling bins with unsuitable waste or dirty containers (such as coffee cups with liquid left in) as this renders the whole lot fit for landfill only


  • Ensure all new staff are formally inducted on relevant environmental issues within their role
  • Dedicate a well-labelled notice board in each department to communicating environmental issues

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