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Sustainable Operations,
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Washington, DC 20024
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Sustainable Operations

Green Tips



  • Reclaimed wood. Wood can last a really, really long time. Furniture made from reclaimed wood is a great example of resource efficiency. Reclaimed wood usually comes from old furniture, houses, or other built things.
  • Send your unwanted wood furniture to a good home. Sell it on Craigslist, eBay, or the local paper, give it away via Freecycle, or include it in your next yard sale.
  • Get Crafty. Lots of furniture can be repurposed into new functions or just freshened up with new paint or finish.
  • More and more furniture is being made from recycled plastics and metals. Recycled materials require less processing and fewer resources, and help support the market for recycled materials.
  • Buy local. Just like the food on the dinner plate, we might be amazed how many miles the constituent parts of a piece of furniture might have had to travel in order to reach us. If possible, source furniture close to home.
  • Bamboo isn't a tree, but a grass. Bamboo represents a family of grasses that range in size from tiny to huge, and in color from lime green to maroon stripes.
  • Using bamboo in buildings earns architects and builders LEED points. But for the most part, bamboo is one of the greenest materials around.
  • Look for furniture that's durable and fixable. If something is tough and/or can be readily repaired, this lessens the chance that it'll end up in the landfill, and could easily save you money in the long run, even if it's initially more expensive.
  • Buy low-toxicity furniture. When you buy a piece of furniture, bring it home, and set it down in a room, it is offgassing (or releasing substances into the air). Synthetic materials or those treated with synthetic substances can offgas chemicals which are toxic.
  • Check out the Planet Green web site for more about these tips and many more »


  • Invest in a battery-tester and only replace batteries that are completely dead.
  • In the case of batteries, hazardous ingredients like lead, mercury or lithium, increase your chances of finding recycling options.
  • Laptops are not for laps. It will restrict air flow and heat up your battery. Invest in a cooling pad if you want to use laptops on your lap.
  • Avoid storing batteries in hot places because it may leak fluid.
  • Cars experiences a lot of temperature fluctuation due to weather and cooling/heating on every trip. Find insulation blankets to allow car batteries to adjust better to all kinds of temperatures.
  • Crank up your batteries. You can actually find hand-cranks to charge up all sorts of devices, such as cell phones and mp3 players.
  • Using your mobile device while it has a low reception signal uses up more battery.
  • Batteries are considered Hazardous Household Waste. When disposing of your worn out batteries, drop them off at a local collection facility.
  • It is okay to mix battery brands. But do not mix rechargeable batteries with alkaline batteries.
  • If the battery will not be used for a month or more, remove it from the device and store in a cool, dry area.


  • During your spring vacation, stay at a green hotel that practices sustainable operations.
  • Feel the breeze and open the windows. The best way to get dirty air moving out and fresh air moving in is to open the doors and windows.
  • Choose an eco-friendly vacation destination. This may involve sustainable housing, low-impact activities, and supporting local artisans and restaurants.
  • Going on a Spring Break trip? Carpool as many people as you can to go with you.
  • Skip the air fresheners. Buy fresh flowers. An open box of baking soda, cedar blocks, and dried flowers also add natural fragrance to the room.
  • Take a trip and help the planet. Community service offices often organize trips around the state and country to do a little volunteering and discovery.
  • Multi-purpose baking soda can be used for everything from freshening the air, to freshening the carpet or furniture, to scrubbing the toilet and tub.
  • Taking a Spring Break road trip? Rent a hybrid car or SUV.
  • Use natural fiber sponges and rags to do the cleaning. Avoid using paper towels and other one-time use tools.
  • Be a green vacationer and travel by bus or train since planes and cars emit the most carbon dioxide per traveler.


  • Minimize energy used in your home. Make windows and doors well-sealed with caulking and weather-stripping.
  • Switch to electronic banking and credit card payment.
  • Add insulation to attic, exterior wall, and crawl spaces.
  • Fan the air around. Run the ceiling fan clockwise at a slow speed to recirculate warmer air that collects at the ceiling.
  • Use left over bubble wrap by placing it inside windows to act as an insulator.
  • Go paperless. Distribute company information and post company material online.
  • Clean your shower head periodically; scaling and sediment can collect and reduce water flow, using more hot water than needed.
  • Make sure that your heating system is running efficiently. A small maintenance bill can save you the cost of replacing the whole unit!
  • Save energy and boil faster. Measure out the right amount of water needed. It takes extra energy to boil too much water.
  • Check your pressure - For every 5 degrees Celsius the temperature goes down, the air pressure in your tires reduces by one pound per square foot. Keep tabs on your tires for easy riding.


  • Encourage more double-sided printing.
  • Replace the paper towel dispensers with hand air dryers. This saves trees and reduces paper waste.
  • Use electronic versions of forms rather than paper.
  • Bills, bills, and more bills! Go paperless with ALL your monthly bills.
  • Happy Holidays! Replace your old string of decorative lights with LED lights.
  • Recycle computers, cell phones, etc. at a location that accepts these types of materials and recycles.
  • In the winter, instead of turning up the heat in the house, wear a couple more layers of clothing and socks. Use blankets to block drafts from the door.
  • Stop using screensavers. Monitors consume 40% of all the energy used by a computer system.
  • Remove unnecessary articles from your car; each 100 pounds of weight decreases fuel efficiency by 1%.
  • Install faucets that have motion detectors. This will conserve water and it’s more sanitary.


  • Promote recycling by providing recycling bins in every meeting room.
  • Reduce use of paper with paperless meetings or the use of double-sided copies.
  • Conserve energy by installing light sensors in meeting rooms.
  • Use green purchasing by buying recycled content paper and meeting supplies.
  • Promote the use of videoconfercing, webcasts and other electronic means to reduce travel to meetings.
  • Encourage meeting locations that minimize travel.
  • Use water-based markers and pens instead of permanent inks since less hazardous chemicals are used in their production.


Last Modified: 10/28/2010