Going Green at the Office

Conservation only starts at home. Now businesses are trying to do something about wasted energy at work too

Eros Hoagland / Redux for TIME

Sun Light & Power CEO Gary Gerber stands behind a set of solar panels that provide power to his Berkeley office space. Sun Light & Power installs solar operated power sources for commercial and residential use.

We can compost and conserve all we want at home. But as soon as we hit the office, we turn into triplicate-printing, paper-cup-squashing, run-our-computers-all-night-so-the-boss-thinks-we're-working earth befoulers. One office worker can use a quarter ton of materials in a year--which includes 10,000 pieces of copier paper. Heating, cooling and powering office space are responsible for almost 40% of carbon dioxide emissions in the U.S. and gobble more than 70% of total electricity usage. Commuters spew 1.3 billion tons of CO2 a year. Computers in the office burn $1 billion worth of electricity annually--and that's when they're not producing a lick of work.

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