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Become more efficient first

It is essential to plan real reductions through increased efficiencies before considering the purchase of carbon offsets.

Reducing the carbon footprint of our activities begins with becoming more energy efficient in the workplace and then making processes more efficient. This can include using more efficient lighting and cooling-heating systems and substituting some face-to-face meetings with conference calls, web cams, video conferencing and web streaming as well as dematerializing communications away from paper based systems.

While offsetting emissions is appealing due to the simple nature of essentially purchasing a solution, it cannot negate the need to reduce overall emissions by decreasing carbon intensity of each activity; do more with less. This requires a change in individual and organisation al culture and awareness that is integrated into daily operations.

Emission reduction opportunities for offices

Computers - Turn off or Hibernate computers and use dark screen savers.

Lighting - Turn lights off when offices and meeting rooms are not in used. Use motion sensors and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). Turn the lights off during the brightest part of the day.

Temperature control - Ensure the air-condition is upgraded as modern ones are much more efficient. Set thermostats at comfortable temperatures but not cold during the summer and hot during winter.

Green building practices - Incorporate green building practices into new buildings.

Use Greener Energy - Consider purchasing green power for your business.

Reducing Travel-Related Emissions - Explore alternatives alternative to plane trips including video conferencing, back to back meetings, and alternative transport if available such as train.

Commuting - Create incentives for employees to car pool, use public transportation or bike when possible.

Source: Putt del Pino S, Bhatia P (2002) Working 9-5 on Climate Change: An Office Guide. World Resources Institute.