More Enviromentally Friendly Ideas

Services for Real Estate Pros

Some ideas for helping to save money and to save the enviroment too: 

  • Use both sides of writing paper.
  • Copy documents on both sides as well.
  • If a paper is only printed on one-side I will save the paper and reuse the second side (only in cases where I don't have to pass the paper onto someone else!)  This reduces paper costs enormously and saves a considerable amount of wasted paper.

Statistics: It is estimated you can save 20% on paper.  A  typical business person generates 1.5 pounds of waste paper per day, most of which is NOT recycled.

  • Paperless payroll can create a large savings as well.
  • Go paperless with all your files
  • Asking those you e-mail only print the e-mail or attached documents if it is absolutely necessary. Create a signature line stating such.
  • Buy office supplies that disintegrate in landfills. Avoid aluminum, PVC, and Styrofoam.
  • Buy recycled paper that is PCF (processed chlorine free). Use unbleached or uncolored paper. If you need to use colored paper, use pastels. Buy products in bulk to minimize packaging.

Statistics: A ton of 100% recycled paper saves the equivalent of 4,100 kWh of energy, 7,000 gallons of water, 60 pounds of air emissions and three cubic yards of landfill space. In the U.S., 40% of solid waste is paper!

  • Change light fixtures to compact fluorescent lamps.
  • Replace old fluorescent lighting fixtures that are likely using T-12 lamps with T-8 fluorescent lamps. You'll get better color, less flickering and use 20% less energy.
  • Use occupancy sensors in conference, break and bathrooms. They are easy to install and relatively inexpensive.

Statistics: Changing to more efficient lamps can achieve 50-80% savings, and they last 10 times longer. Lighting is generally 29% of the energy use in an office.

  • Need new heating and cooling equipment? Opt for the highest energy efficiency equipment possible. Go to the ENERGY STAR Web  site for information. 
  • Turn your thermostats down by one or two degrees and save about 10% on your electricity bill!

Statistics: Heating and cooling office space is responsible for 40% of carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. and it eats more than 70% of electricity usage.

Tax Savings: Building owners and tenants who can reduce energy costs by 50% or more can get a tax deduction. Go to the government's ENERGY STAR Web site for more information. Many local utility companies are now offering energy audits for free. Contact your local utility and get started

  • Use power strips for all equipment that can be turned off at night in your home, as well as your offices.

Statistic: 40 watts of energy can be lost for each piece of equipment remaining plugged in, but not in use.

  • Upgrade older computer equipment by adding more memory capability and making repairs.
  • Always purchase new energy efficient equipment if you must replace it, and make sure it has expandable memory slots.
  • Place equipment into sleep modes automatically - screen-savers do not count - they actually waste more energy.
  • Save a few dollars on ink cartridges - more and more places available to have them refilled (check your local Walgreens, for one)
  • Always recycle older equipment & cartridges with the manufacturer or at recycling drives in your community. Never just throw away cartridges or equipment in the garbage.
  • Recycle cell phones and rechargeable batteries now at  

Statistics: Office equipment typically uses about 16% of energy costs. If every US computer and monitor were turned off at night, the nation could shut down eight large power stations and avoid emitting 7 million tons of CO2 every year.

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Comments (11)

Thesa Chambers
Fred Real Estate Group - Bend, OR
Principal Broker - Licensed in Oregon
and I thought I was crazy to stack my paper that was no longer needed - then use it for notes -
Jan 19, 2008 05:56 PM
Charles McDonald®
Charlottesville Solutions - Charlottesville, VA
REALTOR®, Principal Broker®, Owner

LOVE IT!!! I do try to go as paperless as I can. One thing I have stopped doing is buying newspapers and print publications if I can get them online. How many times have you been to a home and seen a garage full of newspaper?

Your friend in Charlottesville

Jan 19, 2008 11:32 PM
Julie Neerings~Lifting Hearts ♥ Building Dreams~
Agent Referral - Salt Lake City, UT
Mary~This information is incredible!  Great job on this post.  I'm trying diligently to get rid of all the paper in any way I possibly can. Have a fabulous week!
Jan 20, 2008 10:04 AM
Candy Henthorne
Results Realty - Spring, TX
Spring Texas Real Estate
Mary - Your post is awesome!  We all need to do our part whenever possible.  Thanks for the tips.
Jan 21, 2008 12:02 PM
Marchel Peterson
Results Realty - Spring, TX
Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro
Mary, you have been giving some great energy savings information!!!  I love gearing it towards what you can do in the office also.
Jan 21, 2008 01:32 PM
Sondra Meyer:
Colorado Springs, CO
See It. Experience It. Live It.
Mary, these are some great ideas!  I guess compared to 20 years ago, we are saving a lot of paper not having to print out the big MLS books.  Thanks for the great tips. 
Jan 21, 2008 04:37 PM
Dionne Morgan
Realty World Solano Realty - Vallejo, CA

Happy New Years to you. Thanks for the helpful hints. I never thought about how wasteful we are. Many times disposal of toxic items require community efforts.  Thank you for the heads up on disposal options.

Jan 23, 2008 05:12 PM
Deb Brooks
Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas - Wichita Falls, TX
Hi Mary, I feel the same way about our conservation or lack thereof. I appreciate the hints and will do all that I can to follow them. Have a great day! Deb
Jan 23, 2008 05:46 PM
Donna Yates
BHGRE - Metro Brokers - Blue Ridge, GA
Blue Ridge Mountains
Really great ideas and I save a lot of my paper for my grandchildren to draw and scribble on. 
Jan 25, 2008 01:31 AM
Tina Maraj
RE/MAX One - Fullerton, CA
Celebrating 30 Years of Real Estate Sales
Great Green ideas. I am doing my  best about going paperless in my file keeping by scanning old files!
Jan 25, 2008 05:28 AM
Hannah Zimmerman

If you would like some further reading on the green building movment you should check out the Pitch newspaper out of Kansas City. They recently had an article about one of the founders of the green building movment. Check it out at <a href="">The Pitch</a>.

May 30, 2008 09:30 AM