Sustainability

Green Tips

At theMART, we are committed to green initiatives. Here are some tips and links to help you go green at work and at home.

At work:

  • Optimize power settings on computers and electronic devices. Shut down at the end of the day, and turn off any second monitors.
  • Unplug printers, scanners, and copiers only used occasionally and use EnergyStar settings on those that are in use.
  • Turn off all lights and any audio/visual equipment not being used, and work with your office to install occupancy sensors in offices and conference rooms, and replace fluorescent and incandescent fixtures with LED fixtures and bulbs.
  • Use revolving doors when possible – they reduce the conditioned air lost to the outside
  • Don’t print unless you need to. If you have to, print double sided.
  • Purchase materials with at least 30% post-consumer recycled content, such as recycled paper.
  • Bring lunch and use reusable containers to save unnecessary waste and personal costs.
  • Bring in mugs, glasses, and utensils, and request that your take-out orders leave them out
  • Try to notice what uses energy and water, and what creates waste. Simply raising your awareness positively changes habits.
  •  Recycle in the simplest way possible with these tips.
  •  Ask the Mart about its composting program.
  • Purchase EnergyStar appliances, and seek out low-emitting refrigerants for refrigeration equipment.

At home:

  • Use LED lightbulbs, with daylight or occupancy sensors on outdoor fixtures. Lighting can account for up to 40% of your home’s energy budget.
  • Install a smart thermostat to reduce your energy use by up to 6%.
  • Use smart plugs to turn off electronics when not in use, especially on entertainment peripherals. Plug load can account for 10% of your electricity budget, even with modern entertainment appliances. You can buy many of these with a discount from your utility.
  • If you own your home and it is older than 40 years, you may benefit from weatherization (air sealing and insulating your home). Weatherization can save 15-30% when done by a qualified contractor.
  • You can now take advantage of solar power as a homeowner and a renter in Illinois. Because of rebates and credits, solar power has a better return over 25 years than many long term investments.
  • Energy efficient air conditioning has come a long way toward more efficient products in the past decade. Replacing room air conditioners with EnergyStar room air conditioners and central air conditioning with an air-sourced heat pump can save on cooling costs. Air sourced heat pumps can provide heating in the fall and spring, saving on heating costs as well. Ductless mini-split heat pumps can be used in place of room air conditioners for larger rooms when central air conditioning is not possible, such as condominiums.
  • Take public transportation, walk, or bike. Transportation contributes 30% of climate changing emissions, so eliminate them by not using fossil fueled transportation. The Active Transit Alliance supports bicycle commuting, and the Mart works with tenants to provide bike locker storage on request. Divvy bicycles are also available on the west side of the building.
  • If you have to own a car, drive electric. New electric cars have a 200+ mile range, cost less than $2 to fully charge, and have none of the regular maintenance requirements that a traditional gas powered car requires. Electric emissions in Illinois are greener than fossil fuels and continue to improve with increased wind and solar generation. Charging stations continue to be plentiful and expand all the time. One popular network is ChargePoint.
  • Compost in your backyard, with worms, or with a local pickup service.
  • Buy local food when possible, or sign up for a Community Supported Agriculture co-op.
  • Motivated home owners may consider going all-electric to reduce their carbon footprint by replacing all gas appliances in the home with electric appliances and installing solar panels. A typical existing weatherized home with efficient appliances can meet the Architecture 2030 Residential Challenge Target for New Construction, a standard for new buildings, by retrofitting and installing efficient appliances and installing solar panels.
  • Calculate your household carbon footprint to determine how you compare to your neighbor.
  • Solar PV + EV + hourly pricing with ComEd can almost eliminate your electricity bill (you have to pay the customer charge).


More tips are available at:

Illinois Green Alliance