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What is “green”? And what is LEED?

Green is a term used to describe anything that’s environmentally friendly. LEED is an acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. The United States Green Building Council created LEED as a method of scoring buildings to show how “green” they are. Since it has been instituted LEED has become the benchmark for green building in the United States.

Why do green buildings cost more than conventional buildings?

This is not necessarily true. Comparing different types of building, i.e. one with solar panels vs. a traditional building will show an initial upfront cost but the operating costs will be much more economical. This return on investment should cover and offset the initial upfront costs compared with a traditional building.

The environmental benefits are nice but what can I do to conserve electricity costs in my office?

Turn off electronic equipment that is not in use. Energy savings is an essential part of being “green”. An easy way to start is to simply turn off electronic equipment that is not in use. For example turn off printers, computers, radios, lights, etc that aren’t in use. This should also include unplugging chargers that are not in use. While still plugged in chargers still use a small amount of energy. Using “Energy Star” office equipment or equivalent for all new equipment purchases will help reduce the amount of electricity used. Using motion sensors inside your building will reduce the amount of time that the lights are in use.

Does our heating or cooling operate over night?

Yes, unless you manually set your temperature down or up depending on your location. You may also be able to shut down your system overnight. A final option is to have a programmable thermostat. Using programmable thermostats automatically adjusts the target temperature for your system so you can minimize the amount of energy your system will use.

How can I cut down on paper usage in our company?

Establish a policy of copying on both sides of the paper for internal documents. Also, establish a policy to distribute documents electronically in lieu of printing. Pay your bills online and cancel paper statements.