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Green Business Traveling Tips to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

written by: Nancy Jackson•edited by: Linda Richter•updated: 11/11/2009

Green business travel is getting easier, with hotels, restaurants and transportation companies working to reduce their carbon footprints these days. Here are 10 ways to go green when you go on your next business trip. Most of these you may already be using to reduce your carbon footprint at home.

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    Ten Ways for Greener Business Travel

    You've finally gotten your presentation together, and you're ready to fly across the country to present it to an important client. Now you're expected to to green up your business travel while you're totally distracted by work? Relax -- green business travel is becoming easier, now that those in the travel and hospitality sectors are becoming aware of the impact of their carbon footprints. Here are 10 ways to go green when you go on your next business trip:

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    Don't Go

    While this may sound a little dramatic, it's often a very do-able option. Teleconferencing, webinars and other methods of long-distance conferencing are becoming more and more sophisticated. Companies often use conference calls to update employees across the country on new developments. Making PowerPoint and other presentations to clients is now being done routinely by teleconferencing, especially when they would otherwise require overseas travel.

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    Choose Eco-Friendly Transportion

    If you must travel, think about your means of transportation. For relatively short distances, trains and buses may not sound glamorous, but they are preferable to one person traveling alone in a car. Carpooling should always be used if several employees are headed to one destination.Green business travel means paying attention -- the goal is to use the most ecologically-friendly means of transportation possible.

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    Tips for Flying

    If flying is your only option, check out airlines that are working to reduce their carbon footprint. Go to airlines' websites and see what they've posted concerning their fuel efficiency, their recycling program, their carbon offset efforts. Fly with as little luggage as possible -- a lighter plane reduces CO2 emissions. Remember that taking a direct flight also helps to reduce an airline's greenhouse gas emissions.

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    Rent a Small or Hybrid Car

    If you need to use a rental car, go green by asking for the smallest vehicle you can. See if a hybrid car is available when you rent in advance. Use public transportation if possible when you're traveling in your destination city. You may be able to forgo a rental altogether by using the services of a shuttle service.

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    Stay at an Eco-Friendly Hotel

    Hotels are making green business travel more convenient by offering reuse of linens for short stays, low-flow shower heads, some solar power, and green (nontoxic) cleaning products. When you stay at an eco-friendly hotel, let them know that you and your company appreciate their efforts to make business travel greener.

    Find out five more tips for green business travel on the next page.

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    How to Reduce Energy Usage When Traveling by Using Energy-Saving Devices and Unplugging Electronics at HomeMore tips for green travel include bringing an eco-friendly laptop and leave other portable devices at home. You can also set your thermostat while you're away to reduce energy usage in your home.
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    Use Energy-Saving Devices

    Most of us travel with several energy-consuming devices, from laptop computers to DVD and MP3 players, or even eBook readers. All of these consume considerable amounts of energy. You might consider taking a couple of good books with you instead of more energy devouring entertainment. Reading is still one of the best modes of entertainment available -- and you'll probably learn more, too.

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    Unplugging at Home

    To really go green, you should go with a clear conscience. That means readying your home for business travel -- or any travel -- by saving on energy while you're gone. Turn down your water heater and your furnace. Use a lighting timer with your lamps, after you install energy efficient fluorescent bulbs in all your household lighting.

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    Turn Down the Thermostat

    Remember to turn off your air conditioner or set the thermostat at a lower temperate during the colder seasons. While leaving the air conditioner off may mean a rise in home humidity, dialing down the AC saves as much as $15 every two weeks while you're gone. And when you're back home, try to leave the air conditioner off until the heat and humidity really become uncomfortable. During colder months, set the thermostat a bit lower and put on a sweater when you're at home.

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    Use an Eco-Friendly Laptop

    Give some thought to that computer that you'll be using while you're gone and try to choose an eco-friendly laptop. Does the brand you're chosen have an Energy Star sticker? The EPA will only issue this sticker for products that use 70% less energy in sleep mode than computers than do not have internal power management.

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    Share Your Efforts and Ideas

    Enjoy your green business travel more by sharing these green tips with fellow workers and higher-ups in the company. Start a real effort in your company to add to ways to make your business travel even more eco-friendly. You'll probably be surprised at what your group comes up with. It's much more fun - and more effective - when you go green together.