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How to make government green

Federal employees, public offer the White House 5,000 ideas for making government environmentally friendly

Ideas for conserving energy

"Teleworking should be an option for anyone who works in federal government as an employee or contractor [and] whose job could allow for such flexibility. This falls under conserving a lot of energy, but it would also reduce commuters' carbon footprint."
— Josh, Oakton, Va.

"Set the defaults on the computers to (a) shut off the monitor when the workstation is locked, (b) shut off the computer when unused for long periods, and (c) shut off at night."
— Larry K., Danbury, Conn.

"Energy Performance Dashboard: Install screens in building lobbies that track energy usage in real time. Link information to PCs within buildings at all workstations. Research has proven that providing this information reduces consumption by more than 5 percent."
— Adam K., U.S. Transportation Department, Boston

"Turning off monitors at the end of the day. Just put your hand on the top of your monitor and see how hot it is. When you are out of the office, this is wasted energy, and in the summer, [it] is wasted twice because the air conditioning has to deal with it."
— tjk, Camp Springs, Md.

Ideas for eliminating waste

"All federal computers should have approved…software installed that will sign a PDF or Word document with the digitized signature of the employee. No more printing out forms/evals/memos to sign; it’s all digital."
— S.A. Shira, Washington

"Set 'double-sided printing' as the default for all printers in government offices. People can still choose single-sided when necessary, but we will save a lot of paper by changing the default."
— Nora, Washington

"For every employee who can telecommute, require [that] they use a laptop and a docking station, [eliminating] the need for two computers!"
— money guy, Washington

"We should stop printing paper training packets, (which never get read anyway). Instead, just have a PowerPoint presentation for the class, and e-mail the copy of the material to them. Paperless training."
— Tiffani D., Washington

"Stop sending the Federal Register in hard copy through our offices."
— Penny, Martinsburg, W.Va.

Ideas for sustainable purchasing

"Provide online 'green' training, which is made as accessible and is treated as essential as other already mandated training (ethics, security, etc.). Make suitable for work and home application. Include both generic and location-specific solutions."
— Richard, Washington

"Purchase soy-based toner cartridges instead of petroleum-based toner cartridges."
— Dave W., Washington

"Make green purchasing easier for government credit card holders by revising the GSA Advantage Web site to prominently and preferentially display items that are compliant with federal green purchasing guidelines."
— Jason, Okinawa, Japan

"All wireless mice and keyboards should use rechargeable batteries."
— Melanie H., Arlington, Va.

"Eliminate desk phones for individuals with government-issued BlackBerrys. That way each person has one phone and one number to maintain."
— Erica, Atlanta

"Eliminate the use of wireless keyboards, mice and other desktop peripherals unless needed for disability access or task requirements. This will eliminate the use and disposal problems of batteries and eliminate the use of federal funds for 'cool toys.' "
— Steve, Edwards, Calif.

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Reader comments

Wed, Dec 2, 2009 Tri-state Dolphin CT

Energy efficiency in data centers is actually 3 fold. Data equipment, HVAC and lighting. Relighting for load reduction can be done fully/mostly rebated and is a tremendous first step in load reduction. They real cost is just cooperation, rather than budget dollars in the programs I administer. The pay back is major in both budget dollars and Green benefits.

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