Tips to Go Green

Tips to Go Green At Work


  • Take Broward County Transit (BCT)
    Broward County Transit’s service area covers 410 square miles within Broward County with hours of operation starting as early as 4:45 a.m. and running as late as 12:25 a.m. Broward County transit is going green. In summer 2008, BCT received 12 hybrid-diesel/electric buses and is in the process of acquiring fourteen more. Riding public transportation reduces CO2 emissions by 20 pounds a day equaling more than 4,800 pounds in a year if an individual changes their commute from a single occupancy vehicle to public transportation. Visit the online trip planner to help estimate the length and time of taking mass transit from one location to another. For more information please visit Broward County Transit or call 954-357-8400.
  • Take Tri-Rail
    Tri-Rail runs through the tri-county area connecting Palm Beach, Broward and Dade County. The 70.9 mile system has 18 stations along the tri county area. Over 16,000 people use Tri-Rail on a daily basis and over 4.3 million users in 2008. Trail Rail is doing its part to go green. On October 29, 2008, Tri-Rail switched to biodiesel fuel with a goal of a 99-percent blend, when available. For more information on train schedules visit Tri-Rail.
  • Register with South Florida Commuter Services
    South Florida Commuter Services (SFCS) helps promote ride sharing options for commuters in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie Counties. SFCS provides commuters with information on the various modes available. In addition, SFCS works with employers to identify commuter issues and provide support to relieve these issues. For more information please visit South Florida’s Commuter Services or call 1-800-234-RIDE.

    South Florida’s Commuter Services Programs include:
  • Carpool - The basic definition: when two or more people ride together in the same vehicle to commute to work.
  • Vanpool - A vanpool is made up of five to fifteen people who commute together in a passenger van. One or more members of the group volunteers to drive with each rider sharing the cost of operating the van.
  • Bicycle - Bicycling to work not only saves money and keeps you in great shape, but bicycling also reduces our carbon footprint. 

In the Office

Light Up Your Work Life

Replace the light bulb in your desk lamp with an ENERGY STAR qualified bulb. It will last up to 10 times longer and use about 75 percent less energy. Turn off the lights when you leave, especially at the end of the day. For more information please visit ENERGY STAR.

Let It Flow

Keep air vents clear of paper, files, and office supplies. It takes as much as 25 percent more energy to pump air into the workspace if the vents are blocked.

Team Up

Create a Green Team with your co-workers, help build support for energy efficiency in your workplace, and reduce office waste. Set a goal to make your building an ENERGY STAR qualified building.  Broward County created the Government Operations Workgroup to identify greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction actions in government operations and to measure progress toward achieving the County’s GHG reduction target. 


Practice Recycling (paper, plastic, and glass). Support your office recycling program or establish a new one with assistance from Broward County Waste and Recycling Services.  When ordering products for the office purchase products are made that out of recycled material.  For more information please visit Broward County Waste and Recycling.

Reduce Your Waste

Make it a habit to bring your own mug and dishware for those meals you eat at the office. Use reusable dishes, silverware, and glasses. Provide filtered drinking water to reduce bottled-water waste.

Print Smarter and/or Go paperless when possible

  • Make it a habit to think before you print: could this be read or stored online instead? Request to be removed from mailing lists for any unwanted catalogs, newsletters, magazines, and junk mail.
    • Make it a policy to post employee manuals and similar materials online, rather than distribute print copies.
    • Make it a habit to print on both sides or to use the back side of old documents for faxes, scrap paper, or drafts. Avoid color printing and print in draft mode whenever feasible.
    • Make it a policy to buy chlorine-free paper with a higher percentage of post-consumer recycled content. Also consider switching to a lighter stock of paper. Recycle toner and ink cartridges and buy remanufactured ones.

Office Electronics

  • Give It a Rest - Use the ENERGY STAR power management settings on your computer and monitor so they go into power save mode when not in use. Also use a power strip as a central “turn off” point when you are using equipment to completely disconnect the power supply. For more information visit the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Unplug It - Unplug electronics such as cell phones and laptops once they are charged. Adapters plugged into outlets use energy even if they are not charging. Also when electronic devises are turned off but still plugged in, they continue to use energy (vampire power).  Saves over 1,000 lbs. of CO2 per year.
  • Use Power Strips – Plug all electronics into power strips and turn them off each night to save more energy.
  • Program Copy Machines – Have them enter sleep and shut-down modes after a selected time.
  • Purchase Green Products – Including green cleaners, fuel-efficient vehicles, and Energy Star rated electronics & vending machines.
  • Apply For an Emerald Award Get recognized for outstanding environmentally-responsible practices.
  • Receive an Energy Audit - An Energy Audit will identify cost-beneficial improvements for your facility.
  • Conserve Water – Check all faucets, water fountains, toilets, and urinals for leaks and running water.
  • Telecommute - Organize webinars or conference calls instead of driving to meetings. This not only saves time but money spent on fuel and reduces greenhouse gas emissions
  • Set Your Fridge- Keep the work refrigerator set at 38-42 degrees Fahrenheit and freezer at 0-5 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid opening and closing the refrigerator door.
  • Walk to lunch - During the month of May, as a part of Clean Air Month, the Broward County Air Quality Program participates in Walk to Lunch Day. If just 6,000 people walked to lunch one day a week instead of driving, we would reduce 615,079 pounds of greenhouse gases. 
  • Bring your own food to work - You will reduce waste, eat healthier, and save money. Estimates of savings vary from $12 a month to $76 a month. To maximize waste-reduction, buy food staples in bulk. Opt for reusable containers and silverware, along with cloth napkins. Introduce your coworkers to the fun of healthy food by organizing a green potluck.

Sources: Environmental Protection Agency, National Association of Counties, US Department of Energy, Emission Database for Global Atmospheric Research (EDGAR) project,, Greenpeace, The Green Bean Commuter Benefits Newsletter


Tips to Go Green at Home

  • Change a Light – Replace your five most frequently used light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. The life cycle of the bulbs will reduce 1,663 lbs. of CO2. An individual can save more than $65 a year in energy costs. Energy Star qualified bulbs use 75 percent less energy and last up to 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs.
  • Use Less Hot Water - Wash Only Full Load in Your Washing Machine & Take Shorter Showers – The water heater is a large user of energy in most homes.  About 90% of the energy used to wash clothes is from heating the water. Saves over 100 lbs. of CO2 per year.
  • Adjust your Thermostat – Cool your home at 78° or warmer with the thermostat fan set to “auto”.  Raise the temperature to 82° or warmer when you’re away from home. Saves 2,000 lbs. of CO2 per year and approximately $180 a year on the electric bill.
  • Clean Air Conditioning Filters – Clean your A/C filters monthly to save energy and money on cooling costs. Saves 350 lbs. of CO2 per year.
  • Seal the Deal - Improve energy efficiency and comfort by finding and sealing air leaks to the outside. Can follow the Energy Star home sealing recommendations.
  • Purchase Energy Star Appliances – Look for Energy Star rated products in more than 40 categories, including TVs, refrigerators, dishwashers, and air conditioners.
  • Unplug Unused Electronics – When electronic devises are turned off but still plugged in, they continue to use energy (vampire power). Saves over 1,000 lbs. of CO2 per year.
  • Limit the Time You Run Your Pool Pump – In summer, no more than 6 hours a day.  In winter, no more than 4 hours a day. 
  • Avoid Using Multiple Refrigerators - If you have an extra refrigerator that is not kept full or is hardly used, turn it off or get rid of it.
  • Reduce Garbage - Buy products with less packaging. Practice recycling (paper, plastic and glass) and composting. Saves 1,000 lbs. of CO2 per year.
  • Take the a Home Energy Survey – Receive a guide for an energy-efficient home which includes an analysis of your home’s energy use.  Contact you utility company for more information.
  • Get your yard Naturescape Certified - NatureScape encourages the use of native plants in landscaping that are uniquely adapted to grow in South Florida. Natives generally require little watering once established, and are naturally pest resistant, which means less use of expensive and toxic chemicals. So by using native plants we conserve water and reduce pollution while maintaining a healthy landscape. Trees absorb and use carbon dioxide for energy and produce oxygen for us to breathe. For more information please visit the Naturescape website.

Sources: Environmental Protection Agency, National Association of Counties, US Department of Energy, Emission Database for Global Atmospheric Research (EDGAR) project,, Greenpeace


Tips to Go Green on the Road

  • Curb road rage - Speeding, rapid acceleration (jackrabbit starts), and rapid braking can lower gas mileage by 33% at highway speeds. Drivers can save up to 80 gallons of gasoline, or up to $255, by driving sensibly on the highway. If you don’t have a “lead foot,” your savings may be closer to 10percent.
  • Drive sensibly - Around town, sensible driving can save 5 percent – up to 30 gallons of gasoline and up to $100.
  • Choose the right vehicle - If you own more than one vehicle, drive the one that gets better gas mileage whenever possible. If you drive 12,500 miles a year, switching 10 percent of your trips from driving a car that gets 20 mpg to one that gets 30 mpg will save you more than $65 per year. 
  • Ditch “junk in the trunk” - An extra 100 pounds in the trunk cuts a typical vehicle’s fuel economy by up to 2 percent. You can save up to 12 gallons of gasoline per year – up to $40 – by removing an extra 100 pounds of unneeded items from the trunk.
  • Decrease your speed. Speeding costs! Gas mileage usually decreases rapidly above 60 mph. Each five miles per hour over 60 mph is like paying an additional 20 cents per gallon for gas.
  • Avoid idling. Idling gets 0 mpg. Cars with larger engines typically waste even more gas while idling than cars with smaller engines.
  • Buy $mart - When buying a new or used vehicle, think high gas mileage. Check out the U.S. Department of Energy website or look for a SmartWay® certified vehicle on EPA’s Green Vehicle Guide for information on fuel-efficient vehicles. Visit Guide to Alternative Fuels (English, Spanish, Creole) for more information. 
  • Inflate your tires - Keeping your tires properly inflated is simple and improves gas mileage by around 3 perecent, saving up to 20 gallons of gasoline, or up to $65.
  • Tune up - Fixing a car that is noticeably out of tune or has failed an emissions test can improve its gas mileage by an average of 4 percent —saving up to 25 gallons of gasoline and up to $80. Fixing a faulty oxygen sensor can improve mileage by as much as 40 precent — saving up to 250 gallons of gasoline or up to $800. 
  • Check and replace air filters regularly - Replacing a clogged or dirty air filter can improve your car’s gas mileage, and a clean filter keeps impurities from damaging the inside of your engine.
  • Select the right oil - Using the manufacturer’s recommended grade of motor oil, including re-refined motor oil, improves gas mileage by 1 to 2 percent, resulting in annual savings of up to $40. Motor oil that says “Energy Conserving” on the API performance symbol contains friction-reducing additives. Also, change your oil as recommended to extend the life of your vehicle and remember to recycle the used oil which can be re-refined, saving even more energy.

Note: Tips are calculated as annual savings, driving the national average of 12,500 miles per year in a vehicle with a fuel economy of 20.1 mpg using regular grade gasoline at $3.21 per gallon—the projected 2008 annual average by the Energy Information Administration’s

  • Give Your Car a Break – Leave your car at home.  Walk, bike, carpool, or use mass transit.
  • Report Smoking Vehicles – Call 954-519-1499 or visit Broward County Air Quality and click on the Smoking Vehicles button.

Sources: Environmental Protection Agency, National Association of Counties, US Department of Energy, Emission Database for Global Atmospheric Research (EDGAR) project,, Greenpeace

Tips to Go Green While You Are Traveling 

Planning Your Trip:

  • Green Hotels - Look for hotel accommodations and tours that carry environmental friendly certifications or memberships in green industry associations - such as Florida Green Lodging, Green Seal or Green Leaf. Several organizations have developed standards to measure the environmental initiatives of hotels and tours. Standards vary depending on the organization; however, green hotels and tours include reducing energy consumption through fluorescent lighting, instituting recycling programs, conserving water either through installation of energy star products or by asking patrons to reuse towels and by purchasing local organic foods. When hotels and tours meet these standards, they are certified as “green.” For a list of “Green Lodges” you can visit Green Hotels. You may also want to select a hotel close to public transportation or near the places you are going to visit during your stay.
  • Book Electronically - When flying, book electronic tickets. It reduces paper waste and you are less likely to lose your ticket.
  • Direct Flights - Take direct flights to locations if possible. Taking off and landing consume large amount of fuel.
  • Put Your Bag on a Diet - The more weight those planes, trains, and automobiles have to carry, the more fuel they use. Do your part to cut emissions by sporting a streamlined suitcase. Packing early will give you time to weed out unnecessary items. Check with your host or hotel to find out if appliances such as hairdryers will be available. Coordinate with your traveling companions to avoid doubling up on items that can be shared, such as toothpaste or shampoo.

Before You Go:

  • Unplug, Unplug, Unplug - Pull the plug on any unnecessary appliances - such TVs, VCRs, stereos, toasters, and microwaves. These items can still use energy in their off mode.
  • Adjust your Settings - Set your thermostat and water heater at low settings so that energy isn't wasted while you are gone. Move your thermostat up two degrees and save 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per year.  Cleaning your A/C filters each month can save 300 pounds of carbon dioxide per year.
  • Stop your newspaper or donate the paper to a school while you are gone.

When You Are There:

  • Participate in the hotel’s environmental program as much as possible. If you have any questions about how, simply ask when you check in.
  • Turn the lights off - Never leave lights on when you are not in the room.
  • Lower the thermostat when you leave the room for long periods of time.
  • Temperature in your room - If your destination is a warm climate then close the drapes. Or, if you have Venetian blinds, angle them up to bounce the sunlight off the ceiling. This will keep the room cooler. Conversely let the sun warm up your room during the day if you are in a cooler climate.
  • Bring your own toiletries - Leave unopened shampoo, soap, and other items in the hotel unless you are taking it home to use.
  • Use water sparingly - In some places this is a very scarce resource.
  • Shopping - Never buy items made from endangered species.
  • Transportation - Walk or use public transportation.
  • Grab only the maps and brochures that you will actually use. If in a large group, share brochures whenever possible.
  • Take pictures and leave the location as you found it. Never remove wildlife from its natural environment including shells, flowers and coral.
  • When hiking or camping, stay only in marked areas to avoid destroying vegetation.
  • Buy Local - Buy locally produced produce in order to reduce the pollution required to import goods.
  • Unplug, unplug, unplug - The first thing you should do when you walk into a hotel room is unplug. Lamps, mini-fridge, coffee maker, hair dryer, etc. Appliances drain energy even when they’re not on.
  • Use the “Do not Disturb” sign on your door - Or just call housekeeping and tell them you won’t need their services during your stay. To prevent the hotel from wasting water by changing your sheets and towels, wasting electricity by vacuuming, etc. Just ask them to refrain from cleaning your room during your stay.
  • Take shorter showers - The average US shower head spits out about 2.5 gallons per minute, which means in a 15 minute shower you use nearly 40 gallons of water.
  • Recycle - Find out if the hotel recycles. If they do, ask if they separate it out from waste-bins. If they don’t, take your free USA Today and empty cans and bottles and toss them in an extra pocket in your suitcase to recycle later. They weigh almost nothing.

Sources: Environmental Protection Agency, National Association of Counties, US Department of Energy, Emission Database for Global Atmospheric Research (EDGAR) project,, Greenpeace

When You Return Home:

Write a letter or e-mail to your hotel or tour guide telling them that you appreciate their efforts to minimize the impact on the environment. This will encourage them to promote and institute more environmentally friendly activities.