Green Purchasing and Living Guide
This short guide is intended to provide you with some recommendations and suggestions to help minimize the environmental impacts of your campus lifestyle and dorm room living. You inevitably will be purchasing a number of items for your room, and we hope that you consider the potential environmental impacts of each purchase you make. Be sure to coordinate with your roommate(s) so as to avoid duplication of room amenities.
When purchasing any appliance for your room, consider an Energy Star option. Energy Star is the Environmental Protection Agency’s program for labeling products with superior energy efficiency. Energy Star products are more efficient and thus save you and the university money in energy costs. Energy Star options are available for many common dorm room items including Computer Monitors, Printers, Scanners, TVs, DVD Players, Stereos, Phones, Desk Lamps, Floor Lamps, and Light Bulbs among others.
The university has computers available for student use in the library. If you opt to purchase your own computer, notebook computers are preferable to desktops as they use 80% less energy! If you do purchase a desktop, flat panel monitors use less energy and increase available desk space compared to the bulky tube monitors. When your computer is not in use or in need of charging, be sure to unplug it or turn off the power strip so as not to utilize unnecessary energy.
Furman currently provides free access to printers in the library although encourages students to only print when absolutely necessary. Don’t forget to print double sided to save paper! You can use your Thumb Drive, a CD, or e-mail account to transfer your documents to a campus computer for printing. If you chose to purchase a printer, choose an energy star option and consider purchasing environmentally friendly printer ink and paper and remanufactured (not recharged) toner cartridges .
All freshmen residence halls have common space cable televisions available for students to watch. TVs use more energy than any other home electronic equipment, even when they are not turned on! If you do buy a TV, consider energy star options and be sure to unplug it or turn off the power strip when not in use. Flat panel and LED televisions use less electricity and materials than their traditional tube counterparts. Many students use their computers to play music and watch DVDs, which cuts down on the need for extra electronics like stereos or DVD players. If you use or purchase an IPOD be sure to unplug the charger when not in use.
REFRIGERATORS and MICROWAVES
Each room comes with an energy efficient mini fridge, freezer, and microwave.
During the day consider using natural light from the window instead of room lighting. For the evenings overhead lights in each room are outfitted with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) which are nine times more efficient than incandescent bulbs. Consider purchasing CFLs for your desk and floor lamps. Although CFL bulbs are more expensive, they will save you and the university money in the long run. Energy star options are available for room lamps.
Although most students use their cell phones, each dorm room is equipped with a land line. Furman prohibits the use cordless phones in dorms. Cordless phones use substantially more energy than their corded counterparts. When you are not charging your cell phone, make sure to unplug the charger from the wall!
Consider using a Smart Strip instead of the standard power strip. Smart strips will significantly help cut out the drain of unnecessary standby energy!
Opt out of purchasing new furnishings and consider either bringing items from home or those that can be purchased second hand instead. Used items can typically be found at a much cheaper cost! Remember space is limited so don’t clutter your room with unnecessary stuff.
There are many eco-friendly options for sheets, towels, and curtains. Linens made from bamboo and organic cotton are perhaps the most common “green” fabrics and are available at most major department stores.
BATH AND LAUNDRY
All grocery stores now carry eco-friendly options for soaps, shampoos, cleaning agents, and detergents. These greener options are not only safer for you, but also breakdown more easily and pose less threat to stream ecosystems where the wastewater inevitably dumps into!
Be sure to only wash full loads of laundry, and ideally wash your clothes in cold water to reduce energy and water consumption. Cold water will typically get your clothes just as clean! Consider using a drying rack instead of the dryer. Air drying not only saves energy, but also helps protect your clothes and make them last longer. Drying racks can be signed out for the year for free from the Shi Sustainability Center.
Purchasing class supplies (notebooks, text books) can be expensive. The university campus bookstore often carries good condition used copies of the class textbooks that come at a reduced cost. Using recycled paper notebooks and reusing old binders for your classes will also cut costs and reduce your environmental impact.
Posters, picture frames, and bulletin boards can be readily found at local thrift stores, of which there are many. Purchasing second hand items not only saves money, but also helps reduce waste. Spruce up your room with some plants! Plants not only improve air quality, but they also are aesthetically pleasing.
Although freshmen currently are allowed to have a vehicle on campus, there typically is no need. Catching a ride or carpooling with upperclassmen for necessary errands is easy to do, and the university provides a free shuttle bus to and from downtown. Walk or bike when possible instead of driving.
SOME SUSTAINABILITY TIPS
Just as important as green purchasing is minimizing your resource use and waste stream. Below is a list of some of additional things you can do to conserve resources and minimize waste:
- Consider the lifetime and environmental impact of a product: Try to reduce your use of disposable items (razors, dishes, coffee cups) and items with excessive packaging.
- Minimize water use: Do only full loads of laundry; don’t run water constantly when brushing your teeth or shaving; and limit your shower time!
- Try to buy second hand items or recycled goods with some recycled content. Donate any unwanted appliances, clothing, and furniture to Goodwill or other distribution centers so that these items can be recycled and remain out of the waste stream.
- Edit documents on the computer screen to avoid printing multiple drafts.
- Be responsible stewards — know what resources you use, what waste you generate, and where your waste goes!
SOME USEFUL WEBSITES
Shi Sustainability Center - www.furman.edu/sustain
Green Guide to Campus Living - ees.furman.edu/greenguide
Environmental Action Group Website - furmaneag.blogspot.com
Housing and Residential Life - www.furman.edu/housing