What You Can Do About Climate Change
During our numerous outreach efforts to host conversations about what we do as an Office within the City & County of Honolulu, and gather perceptions from the community, we were often asked, "What can I do personally, or as a business, about climate change?" Here are a few suggestions. It certainly is not a comprehensive list, but it's a start.
- Use renewable energy in your home.
- Install energy efficient lighting in your home; replace incandescent light bulbs with LEDs.
- Switch your shower head to a high-efficiency shower head.
- Replace old toilets with one that uses less water.
- Turn off your faucet while brushing your teeth or washing dirty dishes.
- Replace your old thermostat with a programmable one that allows you to turn off the A/C when you're not home.
- Buy less stuff, waste less stuff (Check out www.theminimalists.com/).
- Buy in bulk or prepare food ahead of time to mitigate waste from fast food and shopping.
- Bring your own reusable utensils, and cut back on using plastic utensils.
- Eat less; and eat all the food you buy.
- Eat a plant-based diet, preferably local; support your local farms.
- Stop drinking plastic-bottled water.
- If you garden, utilize a composter for food scraps.
- Reduce meat consumption by 7% (about a pound).
- Wash and reuse those plastic freezer bags, and sandwhich bags.
- Go paperless with your bills; receive and pall all of your bills electronically.
- Opt out of junk mail.
- Get in the habit of having one of those lightweight, reusable tote bags in your purse or backpack.
- And of course, reduce, reuse, recycle.
how you get around
- Skip that flight.
- Commute to work using public transportation, a bicycle, carshare, carpool, electric vehicle, or walk.
- Live car-free if possible.
- If you do have a car, check your tire pressure on a regular basis.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
- Go paperless: share files via email instead of printing documents.
- Centralize printers (no more than 1 per 10 employees).
- Use copier/printer paper that contains at least 30% recycled content.Print 2-sided.
- Recycle batteries, plastic bags, plastic take-out containers.
- Properly recycle or donate unused and/or outdated electronic devices for reuse.
- Clearly label and regularly monitor recycling bins and provide education to staff.
- Use video conference instead of face-to-face meetings, if possible.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevators.
- Compost food scraps.
- Use only reusable dishware for day-today office use and special events.
- Contract only with caterers who follow sustainable practices (reusable dishware, buffet style serving, minimal packaging, etc.)
- Contract only with janitorial servicers who use only green-certified cleaning products.
- Safely store and properly recycle fluorescent light tubes and compact fluorescent lightbulbs.
- Safely store and properly recycle potentially hazardous products such as paints, solvents and cleaners.
- Use high-efficiency electric hand dryers in restrooms vs. paper towels.
- Create an employee green team, supported by management, to implement and monitor sustainability efforts.
- Train new employees about sustainability best practices (including waste reduction, recycling & commuting options), and educate employees annually (annually) about sustainability best practices.
- Create a sustainable purchasing/acquisitions policy guidebook.
- Create a system to gather employee feedback, comments & suggestions related to sustainability actions at work.
- Conduct an annual commute survey to promote low-carbon commuting. Track percentage of employees who walk, bike, carpool or take transit as their primary commute method.
- Offer incentives like reimbursement, raffles, for employees who bike, walk or carpool to work.
- Offer emergency ride vouchers or taxi reimbursements to employees who commute by foot, bike, transit or carpool.
- Alternative travel options (bus/rail, bike parking, EV charging station, etc.) are displayed on company website for visitors.
- Bicycle tire repair kit, air pump and a spare lock are available for employees and visitors.
- Employees participate in a commuter challenge every year ("Bike More", or "Drive Less").
- Offer sheltered, secure bike parking to employees.
- Offer a transit pass program to all employees.
- Computers, computer monitors, printers and copiers are set to sleep after 15 minutes of inactivity.
- Replace incandescent light bulbs with LEDs.
- Lighting is dimmed or turned off when adequate sunlight is available.
- Maintenance checks are regularly conducted on HVAC and other energy-intensive equipment.
- Windows are double-pane or better.
- Doors are weather-sealed.
- Programmable thermostats automatically reduce heating and air conditioning during closed hours.
- Occupancy sensors or timers are used for lighting in storage room, offices, restrooms and other common rooms.
- Linear lighting uses either LED bulbs, T8 or T5 fluorescents with electronic ballasts.
- Track and spot lighting use LEDs or CFLs.
- Emergency EXIT lights use LED bulbs.
- Use "smart" power strips at workstations that have 3 or more peripherals (mointor, printer, speakers, etc.).
- Janitorial services are scheduled during business hours.
- Water heaters are set to 120 degrees.
- An energy audit has been conducted in your workplace within the past 5 years through either your electric utility or independent auditor.
- Renewable energy is purchased for a portion of company electricity use.
- Garage or parking lot lighting is energy efficient.
- Only tap water is provided at your workplace; no water delivery service or single-serve plastic bottles.
- Kitchen faucet aerators have a flow rate of 1.5 gallons per minute or less.
- Restroom faucet aerators have a flow rate of .5 gallons per minute.
- Your business has adopted a beach clean-up site, "clean street" or bioswale in your neighborhood.
- A majority of your landscaping is native and drought tolerant.
- Toilets are WaterSense-approved or use 1.28 gallons per flush or less.
- Urinals are WaterSense-approved or use .5 gallons per flush or less.
- Sponsorhip, in-king services or products are donated to community organizations.
- One or more employees serve a community leadership role (business association, government advisory committee, etc.).
- A formal policy promotes contracting with women- and minority-owned businesses.
- A social responsibility mission statement guides your work and is shared with the public.
- Employees are allowed to volunteer in the community on paid work time.
- A charitable giving campaign, matching funds or similar program is in place to support charitable donations by employees.