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EPA Encourages Office Employees to Reduce Their ‘Environmental Footprint’ and Save Money

Release Date: 4/19/2005
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith, 215-814-5543

Bonnie Smith, 215-814-5543

PHILADELPHIA –Attention building managers and office employees - - Earth Day is the perfect time to start a program to protect the environment and save your company money. It’s called reducing your environmental footprint.

Across the country, people are creating environmentally friendly systems that protect the environment, provide cost savings and increase employee morale.

It is not as complicated as it sounds. The basic idea of an environmental management system is to prevent pollution before it happens. Whether your goal is to start a program to be a recognized as a certified environmental management system, or just look for a few good ideas to reduce, reuse, and recycle materials there is no time better to start than now.

“Businesses all around the world are working to reduce their environmental footprint. I encourage every company to put together a team to develop good ideas to prevent pollution,” said Donald S. Welsh, EPA’s mid-Atlantic regional administrator.

At EPA, employees are always looking for ways to prevent pollution. Recently, the focus has been on ways to reduce gasoline, electricity, and paper in our Philadelphia office. Since 2002, EPA’s regional office and has reduced paper consumption by 30 percent, reduced annual electricity usage by 135,000 kilowatt-hours per year, and 93 percent of the employees take public transportation to work.
People who wish to reduce their environmental footprint must identify where changes could be made. Many business start by adding energy efficient lighting and equipment. Others start by recycling all the paper used in the office. Each employee, working as a part of a team, analyzes his or her own work environment to find ways to prevent pollution.

In 1982, the School District of Philadelphia, the fifth largest school district in the country, launched an energy savings campaign. The District consumes electricity, gas, oil, and steam at a total annual cost of $27 million. By 2002, the energy saving campaign has saved the district $150 million in utility bills.

The Rubenstein Company of Philadelphia, a building management company, has realized energy cost savings of 40 percent without sacrificing comfort or tenant satisfaction in its four buildings. These reductions are equivalent to planting 1,344 acres of trees annually, or powering 654 American homes annually.

Prince George’s Community College in Largo, Md. upgraded 329,000 square feet of its space with energy efficient lighting, which resulted in annual savings of $53,000 per year and an energy savings of 767,000 kilowatt hours annually. The college committed to upgrade a total of 664,000 square feet of space with energy efficient upgrades which will result in the equivalent of removing 600 cars from area roads and planting 1,300 acres of trees.

For additional energy savings examples and associated cost savings see our regional website at

Attached is a questionnaire which can be a way to identify opportunities that may be viable for your office to reduce its environmental footprint. EPA has also designed a website to assist businesses at A complete fact sheet on EPA regional office environmental management system accomplishments is also available at:



Self -Assessment Tool for Determining Your Environmental Foot Print

Give your office 1 point for every Yes answer

Gasoline Does your office know what percentage of your employees use mass transit to get to work?
Does your office offer Transit-CheksŪ to employees to subsidize their use of mass transit?
If your office has free/subsidized parking have you considered eliminating it?
Do your employees utilize car or van pools to get to work?
Can your employees utilize tele-commuting or work from home?
If your office has vehicles for employee use, do you know your fleet MPG?
If your office has vehicles, have you considered more fuel efficient or hybrid cars?
Electricity Does your office maximize the use of natural lighting?
Does your office have fluorescent lighting in common and office areas?
If yes, are there 3 tubes in each fixture?
Does your office have occupancy sensors to control your lights?
Does your office purchase any “green power” i.e. power from wind, water or the sun?
Do all the computer monitors in your office have a Liquid Crystal Display (LCD)?
Do you have any LCD computer monitors in your office?
Is the “sleep” function enabled on your office’s computers?
Do you have any Energy Star rated computers, printers, and fax machines?
Have you instructed your employees to turn off their computers, monitors, printer and task lights at the end of the day or when they will be away from their desks for several hours?
PaperDoes your office use paper made with 100% recycled fibers?
Does your office use paper made with any percentage of recycled fibers?
Are your office copiers set to default to double-side copy?
Are your office printers set to default to double-side print?
Does your office know the per capita paper use of your employees?
RecyclingDoes your office recycle: cardboard? paper? newspaper? glass? plastic? aluminum and metal cans? batteries? printer cartridges? 1 point for each Yes - up to 8 points total
Does your office know the percentage of your waste that is recycled?
ReuseDoes your office reuse office supplies? like file folders? three ring binders?
Does your office buy recycled printer cartridges?
Does your office buy refills for pens?
Does your office buy any other products with recycled content?
Total Yes for Both Pages
Ratings: 35 - 25 iiiii, 24 - 20 iiii, 19 - 15 iii, 14 - 10 ii, 9 - 0 i