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Sustainability Tips for Remote Work

computer on desk next to window with houseplant

A checklist of suggestions to help advance Cornell's sustainable campus culture from wherever you may be working.

Office Furniture & Home Setup

Remote Workspaces:

Campus Resources:

  • Staff and teams should consider donating goods they will no longer use in on-campus sites to our reuse collection programs.  These are also good places to “shop” for office supply products.
  • Cornell's Used Furniture Inventory
  • Cornell Computer Reuse Association
  • Have to buy new?Look for these certifications and product elements to buy the most sustainable product, and read this guide for more tips.
    • Buy local!When you buy from a local store, you help keep money and jobs in our economy, and often reduce waste and fuel from shipping.
    • Buy durable.A longer lasting product ensures less waste in our landfills.
    • Look for wood products that are FSC: Forest Stewardship Council Certified, or Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) certified, ensuring the lumber was harvested from a forest managed in a way to maintain biological diversity.
    • Look for bamboo products.Bamboo grows fast and is a great renewable alternative to wood and plastic.
    • Look for Fair Trade certification, which indicates workers are paid fairly.
    • Additional certifications to look for can be found here.
  • Incorporate plants into your home office to decrease stress, add tranquility, improve indoor air quality, and help with attention restoration.
  • When shopping for new appliances, make sure your choices are ENERGY STAR certified
  • Consider having some products that you take back and forth with you between your remote work and on-campus office locations. A small keyboard and mouse, for instance, reduces duplication of materials and helps reduce risk of sharing germs with others.

Save Energy

  • Reduce your computer’s power usage by putting it in power saving mode while you’re not using it. Leaving your computer on all day costs you $75 per year.
  • Proper lighting is an important part of any office. To conserve energy & cut electric costs, set up your office in a space with natural lighting. Natural lighting is good for our eyes and helps regulate the effects of blue light from electronics.
  • Replace light bulbs with energy efficient LEDs, which save 75% more energy than incandescent bulbs
  • Turn off lights & electronics when you leave your home office or your on-campus workspace. Turning off lights can save 10 to 20% of our annual energy use!
  • Turn off additional monitors, speakers, printers, and scanners when they are not in use.  To make this task easier, use a power strip! The Campus Sustainability Office has a guide on what power strips to buy through EShop.
  • Ensure that small appliances like coffeemakers and microwaves shut off when not in use.

Reducing & Diverting Waste

Health & Wellbeing

  • Schedule a lunch break every day
  • Turn blue-light setting on computer screen and/or mobile device screen(s) turned on to protect your eyes.
  • Take breaks away from the computer screen to keep active.
  • Get at least 30 minutes of exercise each day.
  • Have an ergonomically healthy workspace setup.
  • Schedule video calls to keep up social interactions
  • Practice mindfulness in either a scheduled or regular way.