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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.

Which is better: a recycled material or a natural material?

There is no perfect material or product. All materials in one form or another have a negative effect on our environment. The key is setting priorities for what you want to accomplish with that material or product and then minimizing the environmental impact of that material or product. Some key questions to consider when making your decision are:
a) Where did this material or product come from?
b) What are the by-products of its’ manufacturer?
c) How is the material delivered and installed?
d) How is the material maintained and operated?
e) What do we do with them once we are done with the materials?

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.

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.

What is indoor air quality? How can I improve it?

The toxic chemicals found in most common building material negatively affect indoor air quality (what you breath every day). To help prevent some of this clean or replace your HVAC filters per the manufacturers instructions. Inspect and clean air ducts and both supply and return grilles on a regular basis to minimize dust collection and mildew.