The summer heat and humidity has once again forced the air-conditioners on in homes, offices and schools across the nation. Every year at this time I think about how we can save on energy and also help the environment. Are my home and school as eco-friendly as they could be? Are we doing everything that we can to protect the environment? This year a few minor changes was all it took to make us feel better about our lifestyle.
First, we replaced the old air-conditioner in our school with a new, more eco-friendly one. This new machine uses less power, puts less CO2 into the air, and has an eco setting so that it is used as efficiently as possible. Furthermore, we agreed to always keep the A/C at 22 degrees or higher, which is low enough to feel comfortable.
Second, we bought a new fax machine. How does this help you may ask? Well, new fax machines often come with screen so that you can preview the faxes before printing them… or not! Since we got the new fax machine, we’ve only printed 1 in every 10 faxes, thus cutting our paper and ink usage by 90%!
Third, and this is really simple when you think about it, but not simple to think of! We changed our paperwork filing system. With our old system, we filled out a form every time we did something, but now we have remade many of our forms so that we can use one form for several events. For example, in the old system we used a new form every time we wanted to close down a time slot on the schedule, but now we re-use the same form over and over by writing in pencil and erasing! Again, we were able to cut down our paperwork in this area from 1 or 2 pages a week to only 1 page a month. Once we started to make reforms, we realized how easy it was to update our system to be more paper conscious. Saves paper and money!
Another easy step in the filing system reform was to computerize previously paper based documents. Paper usage in these cases dropped to zero. That’s what the computer is really for, isn’t it! Furthermore, as storage space is such an issue in Japan, this allows us to keep much larger quantities of information in almost no space at all.
Finally, we invested in summer clothes that breathe better, opened some windows, clicked off the A/C at home and clicked on the small fan, and drink lots and lots of water! So we are learning to beat the heat, and be more and more energy efficient about it. How do you live an eco-friendly life? I’d love to know your secrets!
Edward, SSE Ohtsu