Planet Green on Greening Your Office 

Planet Green, a website run by The Discovery Channel, has just released an article called "Going Green at Work." It contains several tips for helping to make your office more eco-friendly, and they are all things that don't require a lot of extra time or money. Here are some of our favorite ideas:

1) Work Digitally

Whenever possible, do your work on the computer rather than on paper. This includes tasks like sending e-mails, typing notes in a Word document, and filling out paperwork using electronic forms.

2) Stay at Home Whenever Possible

Many employers are open to the idea of you completing some work from home - all you have to do is ask. Work such as phone calls, e-mails, and reports can often be done from your home computer, which reduces the amount of pollution released in the air as a result of commuting.

3) Stock up on Green Supplies
Purchase office items that are made from recycled or Earth-friendly elements. These include eco-friendly workstations, recycled pencils, and rechargeable batteries.

4) Bring Your Lunch from Home

Prepare a homemade lunch with organic food, and then bring it to work using reusable containers. Use a lunch box or cooler that you can continue using day after day. This will eliminate the unnecessary packaging that comes with restaurant and vending machine foods.

5) Power Down Your Electronics
A lot of office work involves electronic items, such as computers, lamps, and printers. Turn off this equipment whenever it’s not in use in order to avoid wasting energy.

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Go Back to School With Green Office Supplies 
Whether you’re returning to school for a higher degree or just sending the kids off to kindergarten, the green office industry has plenty of back to school items to help you out. Just check out these great products:

Pictured above are two energy-saving computer supplies that can help you save on your electricity bills. The green computer eco button allows you to save energy by easily powering your computer down each time you take a break. And the USBCELL rechargable batteries allow you to purchase only one set of batteries to take care of your laptop needs for the next year. This means you can go to class without worrying about picking up an extra set of disposable batteries along the way.

The executive armchair pictured above is from Green Office Projects, and features perforated leather upholstery panels. These panels, placed in the seat and back, allow air normally trapped in the cushions to escape. This eco-friendly design makes you feel as if you’re floating on a cloud while you’re working on your next assignment.

Send your kids to school with these pencils from The Green Office, and rest assured knowing that they’re helping to contribute to the green movement. The pencil casing is made from recycled newspaper and 60% consumer waste. These writing tools are certified non-toxic, ensuring that your child will be safe in case of accidental chewing. All in all, a great way to start out the new school year!

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Green Projects Benefitting Wildlife Biologists 

What’s the hottest job on the market today? Wildlife biology, if you can believe it. This is due to the fact that the recent onslaught of green projects necessitates a whole slew of new ground surveyors. You see, whenever a company wants to build a big solar grid right on top of a field somewhere, a team of wildlife biologists must first be brought in to approve the area for construction.

Most solar energy plants are being built in wide open areas in the Southwest, where endangered species are unfortunately likely to thrive. Environmental law mandates that the habitats of endangered species cannot be harmed or disrupted by the construction of building projects, so animals such as the kit fox and desert tortoise may be in trouble if companies just start plopping down structures left and right.

Because of this law, before companies can build, they must have a team of wildlife biologists scour the land for protected creatures. Just in the past year, engineering company URS has employed nearly 40 biologists to tackle its list of green projects. These professionals can earn anywhere from $30,000 to $120,000 dollars a year.

"It's a good time to be a biologist - it's never been busier in my 15 years in the business," says Angela Leiba, a senior project manager for URS.

However, those interested in the field of wildlife biology should definitely be prepared for some hard work. The job is quite labor-intensive, and a team of 30 to 50 people is needed in order to complete just one project. This news goes to show that the green movement stands to benefit everyone, and could be a redeeming factor in our fledgling economy.

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GE and Google Team up for the Environment 
One small step for Google, one giant leap for greenkind. You heard right - two corporate giants are actually putting aside their differences and joining together for the common good. Google announced at its annual Zeitgeist conference last week that it has just secured a deal with GE to develop a geothermal power unit to convert the Earth's heat into energy to power the country.

Deep in the reaches of Silicon Valley, Google gathered major tech players at its headquarters and released details about the upcoming plans. Google CEO Eric Schmidt and GE chief Jeff Immelt explained that their deal will include the creation of the technology necessary for plug-in vehicles to return electricity to a large grid.

A structure will be developed to capture the Earth's heat, which Google already has a head start on. It invested $11 million dollars in the project in August in order to start things off. GE signing on is simply the last piece of the puzzle, and it plans to do what it does best - deliver electricity to the masses.

According to Immelt, "There’s two fundamental things that have to be done, and which we’re working with Google on. One, there has to be more capacity. The second thing is there has to be a smart grid to allow it to operate more effectively. That’s primarily software. We make the hardware."

Wow, we have to say that we're impressed, and looking forward to seeing how this deal works out. Thanks to Google and GE, we may be one step closer to a greener planet.

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Cut Back on Staples, Save the Planet? 
According to Friends of the Earth in the United Kingdom, if “each of the UK’s 10 million office workers used one less staple a day, that could save 120 tonnes of steel a year.” Imagine how many tons we could save if office workers here I the U.S. did the same?

Two other tips from the Friends:

Encourage your company to use reusable cups and glasses instead of paper.

Do you really have time to read all the business periodicals to which you subscribe at work? Didn’t think so – unsubscribe. suggests you check to “see if your office uses fair trade coffees and teas.”

Remember, says , the “greenest paper is no paper at all.” So if you think you need to print something out, think twice. Do you REALLY need it in hard copy now? Could you save it on your hard drive or on a zip file and print it out some other time? also recommends that, when looking for recycled printer paper, look for paper “with a high percentage of post-consumer content and a the minimum of chlorine bleaching.”

Avoid purchasing clothes that need to be dry cleaned, continues. The dry cleaning process emits harmful chemicals into the atmosphere – and costs a pretty penny, as well. In addition, consider purchasing your office attire from thrift stores. It may take more time – if you need a little black dress for Friday’s office Christmas soiree, you may not find it at Goodwill Thursday night – but you will be amazed at the almost new and brand new professional clothing you can find at your local thrift.

Talk to your employer about working at home. Keeping your car off the road at least one day a week goes a long way to keeping your carbon emissions down, especially if you stay home consistently (and if you don’t drive out to a restaurant for dinner because you. Must. Get. Out. Of. The. House. Since. You’ve. Been. Inside. All. Day).

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