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April 2019
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Public Sector Green Options

There is a thought that ‘green’ does not mean ‘lean’. With the focus today on cost-cutting many departments and organisations within the public sector are sidelining environmental initiatives in favour of ‘cheap’ alternatives – despite still caring about the core issues.

In reality, green can be lean. Following are a number of easy-to-implement process and policy changes that will immediately help you eliminate waste, reduce carbon footprint and simultaneously cut costs.

1.Reduce energy waste
A single PC left on 24 hours a day will cost £50* (at 6p pkw) a year, yet the average PC is in use for just eight hours a day, resulting in 681,333 watts of wasted electricity, equating to £1,070 a year, based on an office with 10 PCs.

When purchasing new equipment consider a low energy, reduced footprint model made from recycled and / or recyclable components
Turn heating down and close windows. By turning heating down by just one degree, and keeping windows closed in air conditioned rooms, you can immediately save hundreds of Fix all dripping taps. A single dripping tap can waste 500,000 litres of water a year costing business approximately £400*
Turn off unneeded lights and fans
Turn off non-critical medical and office equipment at night
Replace traditional light bulbs with low energy bulbs
Set power saving options on all equipment
Limit the time any fridge door is left open
Don’t over fill the kettle!

2. Swap office equipment and time-intensive administrative tasks for online or outsourced business services
Most administrative processes {in a school / council / library etc} are now PC-based so there’s little need for a {school / council / library etc} to maintain consumables or energy-hungry fax machines, colour printers and binding machines.

Replace fax machines with subscription or pay-per-use online fax services (SaaS), which send faxes as PDFs from PC to fax or fax to PC. This also provides a far more secure means of sending sensitive information due to password protection to the mail boxes
Many equipment suppliers now offer discounts for web-based accounts. Not only will you get better rates, you’ll save paper, as well as the cost and time needed to request cheques and administer postage

3. Replace routine letters and public information collateral with emails and web pages
An increasing number of {residents / visitors / customers etc} have access to the internet and email services. Take advantage and offer them the option to receive information updates electronically. A surprising number will prefer this to post

5. Introduce green incentives into the {school / council / library etc} daily routine
Introduce car share and walk-to-work incentives for staff and for patients if appropriate. If possible, offer season ticket loans to employees to encourage the use of public transport
Encourage recycling of all plastics, metals, paper, card and food stuffs by providing labelled bins
Centralise purchasing to enable bulk buying of recycled stationary, paper and toilet rolls
Consider shopping for office supplies at supermarkets. These are competitive; have promotions and some offer reward points on green and Fair Trade items
Forgo paper cups for reusable beakers and mugs

As you can see, becoming more environmentally-friendly doesn’t have to cost your {school / council / library etc}, or conversely, the earth.

Steve Adams is Vice President of Marketing for Protus (, provider of the highest quality Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) communication tools for SMEs including the award-winning MyFax, the fastest growing Internet fax service.

Steve can be reached at

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