There are more reasons than ever to go green these days, from saving money to improving your brand reputation. And a lot of strategies for being more eco-conscious don’t require much effort.
Take our short quiz below to test your eco-knowledge and make sure you aren’t missing out on some easy ways to be greener.
The answer to each question is revealed at the bottom of the page. Good luck!
1) When does a typical laptop consume the most energy over its lifespan?
A) When running demanding apps, such as those involving graphics or animation
B) When it is left idle at night and over the weekends
C) During the manufacturing process
D) When it gets old and becomes less efficient
2) True or false? It takes more energy to start up a computer than it would to just leave the system in idle mode overnight.
3) What percentage of consumers think it’s important to buy from environmentally responsible companies?
4) Based on the amount of watts consumed annually, which piece of office equipment uses the most energy?
A) Computers and monitors
C) Fax machines
5) What percentage of electronic waste is properly disposed of?
1) The correct answer is C) During the manufacturing process. Your average laptop has already filled the majority of its carbon footprint before it has even been plugged in. According to studies conducted by Arizona State University and Rochester Institute of Technology, published in the Journal of Cleaner Production in July 2011, as much as 70 percent of the energy consumed by a typical laptop computer throughout its life span occurs during the manufacturing process.
HP has made significant progress in applying sustainability best practices to its entire organization, including the manufacturing process. In 2010, HP reported aggregated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from more than 85 percent of its first-tier suppliers and 40 percent of its second-tier suppliers to benchmark and track reductions. It also co-led the Environmental Sustainability Work Group of the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition to increase adoption and use of the organization’s supply chain GHG emissions reporting system.
2) The correct answer is False. The amount of power consumed by a computer during startup is roughly equivalent to the amount of power consumed during moderate to heavy use. A computer that is left on and plugged in 24/7 will always use more energy than a computer that is turned off on nights and weekends, especially if you consider that nights and weekends make up 75 percent of a full week. That’s a lot of idle energy use for no real purpose.
3) The correct answer is C) 65%. Despite economic challenges in recent years, positive consumer sentiment toward environmental responsibility continues to rise. According to research conducted by The Carbon Trust, 65 percent of consumers polled indicated that they felt it was important to buy from environmentally responsible companies. Clearly, there is a correlation between customer sentiment toward environmental responsibility and attitude toward your brand, which could increase revenue.
4) The correct answer is D) Copiers. Copy machines tend to use more power than other types of office equipment because most require heat to enable the toner to fuse to the paper—and generating heat requires energy. Even when not in use, copiers must keep themselves warm to enable their functionality.
One easy step to curb energy consumption in your office is to unplug printers at night and on weekends, or attach them to a “smart” power strip that you can switch off after the workday. Take energy savings a bit further by upgrading to an ENERGY STAR® qualified printer, which are required to be 40 percent more energy efficient than traditional printers.
5) The correct answer is B) 25%. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, only about 25 percent of electronic products are properly recycled in the United States (“Electronic Waste in the United States through 2009,” published Nov. 2010). That means the rest, all 40 million tons globally, are being dumped in landfills, or simply piling up in pits in third-world countries. Electronic products can contain toxic materials, like lead, that can poison the environment. But they also contain valuable materials, like gold, that can be recycled into new products.