Lighting and other fixtures are essential to any office. We need them to read better, illuminate dark rooms, or rinse coffee cups. There is also a greater emphasis on energy and water conservation. Fortunately, offices are getting greened up.
Lighting is an easy fix. Consider switching to CFLs or LEDs. CFLs cost a bit more than an incandescent, but use about a quarter as much energy and last many times longer (usually around 10,000 hours). It is estimated that a CFL pays for its higher price after about 500 hours of use. LEDs, or light emitting diodes, are a technology that allows for extremely energy efficient and extremely long-lasting light bulbs. LEDs are just starting to hit the consumer market in a big (read affordable) way. They still cost quite a bit more than even CFLs, but use even less energy and last even longer. An LED light bulb can reduce energy consumption by 80% – 90% and last around 100,000 hours. They even light up faster than regular bulbs. Light isn’t all about the bulbs, though. Having eco-friendly lamps and light fixtures is a key component of green lighting. When scouting for new gear, keep your eyes out for lamps made with natural, recycled, or reused materials. Lights made from recycled materials include metal, glass, or plastic. Natural materials can include felt, cloth or wood.
For water, there are efficiency faucets being used now. These are relatively easy to install. They save thousands of gallons a year by increasing the air pressure to the faucet, reducing water. The WaterSense Program http://www.epa.gov/watersense/specs/certification.htmis is a national effort focused on promoting and educating Americans about water usage and water-efficient products. Earning and then displaying the WaterSense label is a useful way for manufacturers to make it easier for homeowners to contribute to the conservation of this valuable resource. The program’s requirements strike an important balance between conserving water and preserving performance. There are more fixtures available with this label on it.