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How to Green Up Your Office

Making your office greener is easier than you think. Take these 5 steps to clean up your act.

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This story appears in the February 2008 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Gluttony is one of the seven deadly sins, and office buildings are guilty. They binge on more electricity than any other type of commercial building, representing about 25 percent of the sector's total electricity consumption. The natural gas they guzzle accounts for almost 14 percent of consumption in nonresidential buildings. But take a few simple steps toward a more sustainable office, and you'll see payback in many shades of green--from money saved to increased employee morale and retention.

1. Cool it. According to the most recent statistics from the Center for Sustainable Systems, space cooling accounts for 11 percent of total electricity consumption in commercial buildings. If you're in a mild climate, ask your landlord to consider adding an economizer, which conditions by bringing in outside air--not by using refrigerant--when it's cooler outside than in. For optimal wintertime savings, experts recommend setting thermostats to 68 degrees during work hours and 55 degrees after hours. Stay on track with a programmable thermostat. HVAC maintenance matters, too: You and your landlord should seal leaky ducts, change filters and have your contractor come out to do annual tuneups.

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