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Acupuncture Today – October, 2010, Vol. 11, Issue 10

Greening Your Office

By Gregg St. Clair, BA, MSTOM, LAc

Every dollar you spend is a statement about the kind of world you want. Likewise, the way you run your office is a statement of the kind of practitioner you are. If you believe helping people is important, you would be wise to look at how you treat the planet.

In Oriental thought, not only are people and the planet inseparable, but we are considered a microcosm of the world. Luckily, we can make decisions on how to treat both by looking at easy inexpensive ways to run our office and contribute to the burgeoning, green economic climate spreading today.

You don't have to spend lots of money to go green and as you save money for yourself, you save the planet as a side effect. Check out the Going Green Guide Book: Outstanding Green Business Practices, which shows how conservation, green consumerism and going green saves money in every way from heating bills to health insurance. The recession we are in makes saving money more important than ever. Many experts believe the rate of consumption in America is unsustainable to the Earth, so by making changes now, we become part of a movement that can transform the economy and politics, and help create a brighter future. Simple steps to reduce your practices environmental impact, which can save money and increase business include:

Have your AC/heater serviced and install programmable thermostats: This allows you to have more control and save money at night and on weekends.

Install compact fluorescent light bulbs: CFLs use 70 percent less energy and last 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs.

Use natural cleaning supplies: Why add chemicals to the environment or your office if it is not necessary? To really save money and be natural, consider using baking soda and vinegar.

Buy recycled products: Buying recycled paper products for the hands and bath is not only better for the environment but supports companies that create recycled goods.

Recycle: Check out ways to recycle paper products, cups or old needle tubes.

Purchase green energy through your electric supplier: Most electric companies offer an option to make a portion, or your entire, bill supplied by wind or solar power.

Turn off the computer: Many people leave on computers, faxes or Internet services, which cause a constant drain of power. Consider a power strip you can plug everything into and turn off with the switch of a button.

Bike/walk/bus/carpool to work: Buying an energy-efficient car is a good idea, but even better is to find a way to create no pollution on the way to work.

Make charitable tax deductions: Not only can you pick which organizations and causes to support, you get to find a way to deduct money at the end of the year.

Use hand sanitizer: If you go to a hospital, you will see hand-sanitizer dispensers everywhere. These are quick, easy, save you time and prevent waste water from going back into the earth.

Make sure office windows are efficient: An initial investment can pay for itself within one year, with benefits coming for years after.

Check pipes and faucets for leaks: Water is one of our most precious commodities. Even if it is included in your lease or rental agreement, the less waste the better.

Buy needles with less packaging: Consider buying a pack of 10 or 20 needles instead of a single- or five-pack. Not only is there less waste, but they are usually more economical.

Switch to an energy efficient computer monitor: An energy-efficient LCD monitor uses one-third the energy of a regular monitor.

Consider socially responsible investing: I wrote previously about investing green as a way take your business profits and turn them into a social force that pays off for you. See "Oriental Medicine, Profit and the Earth" in my past columns for additional information.

A new paradigm is emerging on all frontiers: from health, to politics and economics, a change is happening like never before. We, as health care providers and business people, have an opportunity to be on the forefront of that change. The decisions you make in your office to consume responsibly will have a direct effect on your bottom line, create a positive space for patients to enjoy and help protect the environment contributing to an enhanced, shared quality of life.

Click here for previous articles by Gregg St. Clair, BA, MSTOM, LAc.

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