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Atypical Examples of Green Technology for the Home Office

written by: Sylvia Cochran•edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 10/31/2010

Even a cursory overview of home office automation shows that examples of green technology are no longer just for the big corporate world. Entrepreneurs considering going green will appreciate this listing of green technologies that looks beyond the obvious.

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    Importance of Green Technology in the Home Office

    Office equipment – even in the home office – frequently consumes electricity 24 hours a day. Although this is at times avoidable – after all, computers may be turned off when work is finished -- at other times it cannot be avoided, such as with copiers that double as fax machines.

    Home office technology manufacturers have begun making green products that feature reduced energy consumption when in use and also when on standby; examples of green technology of this kind include virtually all kinds of office machines and of course standard consumer electronics.

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    How a Home Business Can Go Green

    Finding green technologies is as easy as locating the Energy Star label. Entrepreneurs know that going green begins with the purchase of a notebook or desktop computer that is environmentally friendly. Keep in mind that products of this kind may vary in efficiency; for example, Itronix’s IX750 notebook has default sleep- and display sleep mode time settings of 15 minutes respectively, while the HP 6535s has a 30 minute default sleep mode setting.

    Of course, there are also the less obvious but every bit as earth-friendly bits and pieces of home office machinery. Although frequently considered ancillary to the technological furnishing of a home office, these atypical energy savers nonetheless pack a bit of a punch.

    • Water coolers are one of the overlooked examples of green technology. Energy Star advises that those currently in use “consume about 4 billion kWh/year.” The home office entrepreneur can cut this number in half by buying a more efficient model, such as a Clover, Oasis or Crystal Mountain for hot and cold water.
    • External power adapters are another appliance that is rarely considered as being a green technology item. Energy Star explains that there are approximately 1.5 billion of these gadgets in use, which translates into about five adapters per person. They use up to “11% of the national electric bill.” The entrepreneur with a PDA, laptop, mobile phone and digital camcorder cannot make do without them, but even here there are choices. TDK-Lambda Americas, Salom Electric Company, Top Microsystems Corporation and Eastman Kodak (among others) all manufacture external power adapters that are about 30% more energy efficient.
    • LED lighting fixtures last about 22 years and use 75% less energy than incandescent alternatives. Since these lights are available as cove lights, ceiling-mounted or portable lamps, they are excellent for illuminating the home office for a variety of uses. Manufacturers partnering with Energy Star include Illuminations, Action Media Technologies, Luzlab and also Focus Industries.
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    Making the Snowball Effect Work for the Home Office

    Entrepreneurs generally do not keep home offices on a different circuit than their homes. It stands to reason that the use of green technology in the home office – when paired with environmentally-friendly choices in the home – will have a snowball effect of energy savings. As outlined in Bright Hub’s article entitled “What are the Benefits of Green Computing,” the author illustrates how even the stand-by modes of radios, TVs, phones and other home technology will consume energy. If energy-efficient choices are made in the home and the home office, there is little doubt that the savings also multiply.

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    Energy Star. “Office Equipment” (accessed January 26, 2010)