Green Impact Scheme hints and tips

Green Tips

Relatively minor changes in our life and work styles can help to make the University and beyond a greener place.

Being green is only half the challenge – don’t forget to tell everyone about it! Pride in our efforts can help to inspire others.

Lifestyle changes

  • Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth and save 10,000 litres of water a year
  • Have a shower instead of a bath. It's better for your circulation and for the planet
  • Banish plastic bottles of water and invest in a water filter to purify tap water
  • Boil a kettle with only as much water as you need
  • Wash clothes at 30 degrees (this can be just as effective for a normally soiled load)
  • Did you know that the vast majority of energy in regular incandescent light bulbs is lost as heat? Compact fluorescent bulbs are more efficient and now provide much better light. LED bulbs are the most efficient alternative >
  • Remember to unplug electronic devices when you are not using them. Even when switched off most electronic devices still continue to use some energy
  • Why not send e-cards as Christmas/Birthday cards? Save on paper, postage and costs
  • Wear appropriate clothing for weather conditions in order to minimize heating energy usage

Work style changes

  • Walk: don't take the lift. Lifts use an awful lot of power moving us up and down. Why not walk up or down the stairs instead - get fit while saving energy consumption (lose kilos, save joules)
  • Ditch the plastic cup: disposable throw-away cups - the type where you drink a coffee then throw the cup away can produce an extortionate amount of waste. Hundreds of cups can be thrown out daily. Why not bring your own cup? If you use a vending machine, most will allow you to put your own cup when the drink is dispensed so the plastic cup won't appear
  • Take your own reusable mug (with a lid) when you go get a coffee or tea. Paper coffee cups are even worse than you might imagine as they are not made from recycled paper and are coated with plastic. For more details, coffee cup problem

Hints and tips

  • Re-use envelopes, Jiffy bags and cardboard packaging by simply over-labelling previous address details and avoid using envelopes with plastic windows which are difficult to recycle
  • Remember to use the Print Preview Feature. Always click on print preview before printing to check your document for typos etc. Avoid having to print twice! In any Microsoft Office application select 'File - Print Preview'. Conduct a print preview, to make sure efficient paragraphing and pages are correct. Choose the correct font size for your printing, and use the function 'shrink to fit' to use the paper adequately. Always check on screen for errors before you print
  • Preparing papers for meetings: Take care when preparing documents for circulation to ensure that the final page doesn’t just have a small amount of content, change margins or reduce font size to save paper and printing
  • Set your computer to default to double sided printing if possible. Put pieces of scrap paper together to make a notepad or reuse single sided sheets for draft printing before recycling it
  • Switch off your monitor when not in use, even if only for 10 minutes. Your monitor uses twice the energy of your PC
  • Use a black background on your computer desktop and predominantly black screen saver because it uses less energy to display black on a computer screen than any other colour. White uses the most energy
  • Read email messages onscreen to determine whether it's necessary to print them. If it's not, don't!
  • Switch off your mobile phone charger when finished charging. If you don't it will keep drawing almost as much energy as when charging and you will generate 35-70 kg of avoidable CO2 each year. In fact 95 per cent of the energy used by mobile phone chargers in the UK is wasted energy
  • Try adding a plant to your office. Not only do plants improve the office by their decorative nature, there is also a growing body of evidence that they improve air quality in office environments. Make sure to consider any allergies and asthma when selecting a plant