The task of turning your veterinary practice into a "green" one is daunting. Sure, you'd like to cut energy costs and help the planet, but you've got a business to run. Where will you find the time?
Luckily, you can begin saving energy in just a few minutes by adjusting your computer settings. Here are some painless and cost-effective ways to cut back:
1. Install software. Your computer is one of the biggest energy-guzzlers in your office. Power management programs like Verdiem's Surveyor automatically shift your computer to its lowest power setting when the machine isn't being used. And of course, be sure to shut the computer down when no one is in the office.
2. Monitor your monitor. Government program Energy Star recommends manually shutting down your monitor after five minutes of inactivity. Many computers have a setting that will do this automatically. If you're ready to upgrade your monitor, check out Energy Star's Web site for a list of Energy Star-qualified monitors.
3. Go to the dark side. According to the Department of Energy, a white screen uses more power than a black screen. Some programs, like Microsoft Word, allow you to view colored text on a black background. You can also display a dark-colored background or screensaver.
4. Plug in to efficiency. Even when your computer is inactive, it sucks power out of your outlets. Purchase an energy-saving power strip to reduce costs. Some models automatically suspend power to other devices when you turn off your computer; others use a motion sensor to turn the outlets off when it senses no one in the room.
5. Save a tree. Record keeping is an important aspect of your business, and if your practice isn't paperless, printing fewer documents might not be an option. However, by reducing the print margins on the items you print, you'll be able to fit more information on each page and print fewer sheets.
By taking these easy steps, you can begin your journey toward having a green practice. You'll save money, and the Earth will thank you. Click here to download an Energy Star savings calculator, which estimates the annual savings you'll see by making some of these changes.