6 ways to reduce the environmental impact of your home office

Even before the pandemic hit, many of us small and solo business owners lived the dream by working from our homes.

And by freeing ourselves from the daily commute, we likely reduced our personal environmental impact just by staying home. Transportation is the biggest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., with over half of those from personal vehicles.

But other sustainability dangers lurk in our home offices. Here are 6 ways to reduce the environmental impact of your home-based business:

Reduce energy use

Switch to a clean energy provider, if possible. This is by far one of the biggest ways you can reduce your impact.

You can also reduce your environmental impact and your energy bill by:

  • enabling energy-saving features on your devices (and turning your devices off when done for the day)
  • using LED light bulbs (and positioning your desk close to natural light if possible)
  • installing a programmable thermostat (and wearing a sweater!)

Turn off the video

Now you have a good excuse to go audio-only on your next Zoom call. Research shows that turning off your camera can cut carbon emissions by up to 96%. You’re welcome.

Bonus tip: the good old-fashioned telephone is very low impact.

Use sustainable office supplies and furniture

The best option is to reuse and buy second-hand whenever possible. But when you have to buy new, look for recycled products and ones that have been certified, such as by the Forest Stewardship Council.

Limit business travel

Don’t throw away your good karma from not commuting by overdoing it on carbon-intensive business travel. Consider: is that business trip really necessary?

Print sustainably

If you can’t go paperless, make sure to print only what’s necessary. As well:

  • use recycled paper
  • turn your printer off when not in use
  • print double-sided or use the back as scrap paper
  • recycle the cartridge

And speaking of recycling

I don’t really need to say it, do I?

Build a better business

Better for the environment, better for people and—yup—better for your pocket.

Every week, I put together a collection of practical and thought-provoking resources designed to help us grow our impact as small and solo business owners. 

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