Being a Green VA – Part 1: In the Office!

It was noted when I was made redundant that I had “a passion for sustainability” and I am proud to say this is true; I see it as a very positive aspect of my life.

At home, I live with my partner, and try to ensure that our home-life is as sustainable as possible. Now, running my own business, I can carry that passion to the full, ensuring that I run my business as sustainably as possible, which, nearly always, tends to be the most financially beneficial too!

In deciding to work as a VA, I can even help other businesses to run a little bit greener too as these environmental savings can be passed on to my clients! I thought I’d share with you some of the things I do to help Amber Cat Admin go green – Maybe some of them will appeal as most of them will also save money in the long run.

The Office – Electronics & Assets

My Samsung laptop has several features which help reduce energy consumption, including intelligent battery charging, where the battery keeps 80% of its original capacity for up to 1000 recharges, (up to 3x longer than a typical battery), meaning the batteries are more economical and environmentally friendly, and an Eco Power Mode, which minimises damage to the environment by reducing CO2 emissions and energy consumption compared to traditional laptop usage through reduced screen brightness and timed standby, display and sleep functions.  This helps to save money as I spend a lot less electricity charging it than I would if I used it at full capacity and hopefully will save money by reducing the number of times I need to replace the battery over its life-cycle.

Pico Solar Charger on the office windowsill.

Even on a cloudy, overcast day, the Pico Solar Charger is still charging on the office windowsill.

I have a Pico solar-charger for my mobile phone, which, although it isn’t enough to fully charge it from flat, sits in the window and provides a “trickle-charge” while I’m in the office. When I do need to fully charge it, I do this overnight using an Enviroplug, which turns the mobile phone charger off when the battery is fully charged to prevent it drawing more electricity than it needs.  Again, this saves money as I spend a lot less time using paid-for energy to charge my mobile.  The Enviroplug saves about 13.14 kWh of electricity a year, the equivalent to watching a 32″ LCD TV (170W) for 76-hours!

The office desk is from Ikea, who have a very positive Corporate Social Responsibility vision, including details on responsibly sourcing the wood used in the desk!

The Office – Paper & Stationery

As most of my work is completed via a computer, there is very little need for paper-based documentation. Most documents are transferred via e-mail or client-accessible cloud-based storage and invoices and payments are all sent and received electronically.

All paper-based stationery purchased by Amber Cat Admin is sourced from recycled paper, as are my business cards.

I even have a Staple-less Stapler, which holds together 2-5 sheets of paper without the use of metal staples. This means no natural resources are wasted creating the staples and the paper involved is much easier to recycle when finished with.  It might not seem like much, but this will also save the cost of buying staples throughout the year too!

2 Responses to Being a Green VA – Part 1: In the Office!

  • Jeremy Cobb says:

    I love that you have stood by your principles despite what many would see as serious criticism. Never let someone else tell you what your strengths or weaknesses might be. Thanks for the tips, as an my own little addition I have a printer with a good standby mode and no more standby extension cords for the computers and peripherals so they are all completely turned off with the computer at night.

    • Thank you – I currently don’t use the printer/scanner much, so switch it off totally after I’ve finished using it. I have ensured that the surge-protected extension cable, which is now on the wall above the desk, has individual switches, so I can switch things on as/when I need them without having to crawl under the desk(!), rather than have them on standby all of the time. It took me ages to find one – and in the end, I was pleasantly surprised to find it in Argos! :)

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