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It will sound like commonsense, but sometimes we need to remind ourselves of the simple steps we all can take to help reduce energy consumption, promote recycling and reuse of materials, and in general lower the carbon foot print of our growing campus. Consider these tips:
Most printers on campus have the ability to “duplex”, which means printing documents on both sides of a sheet of paper. If you are getting single-sided printed documents now, please set your printer to duplex by default. If the entire campus community does this, the paper savings will be enormous.
Proper use of fume hoods is important for laboratory safety, and also for energy efficiency. When you are working in the fume hood, it’s best to keep the sash 18 inches or less from the working surface. And when you are not working there, make sure the sash is fully-closed, so it’s not using energy to vent air when not necessary.
Use the SWAP website to post surplus office supplies, furniture or laboratory equipment so others on campus can put them to good use – and keep them out of the landfill. The SWAP website is not available for the general public, but is hosted on the UMMS intranet.
There are thousands of computers on campus, and it’s so easy to leave them on all the time. They may go to sleep after a while, but that’s not as good as shutting down. If there is no reason to leave a computer on overnight, please shut it down. This is one of the most effective ways we have to reduce consumption of electricity on campus.
The trash bin is often the default choice when there is a question about whether an item is recyclable or not. To help make the right choice, look at the Recycling page on this site.
Disposable cups for cold or hot beverages you consume at work are often avoidable. Using a washable bottle or cup, or a nice mug for hot coffee or tea, is a good way to cut down on the campus trash stream. It’s a good habit for the home as well, and it saves you money!
As we try to reduce our carbon footprint, it can be helpful to understand where we are starting from, and how much the daily activities of our lives involve energy. There are several carbon calculators available on the Internet to use as an assessment and learning tool. Check out www.nature.org or www.epa.gov for starters and take a few minutes to see what your carbon footprint is, and how many trees are required to offset the emissions of your daily activities.