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Tips for Greener Photography: Eco-Friendly Studio/Meeting Space

By Thea Dodds of GreenerPhotography.org

This is the first in a series of tips on how to make your photography business greener. We'll start with taking a look at your physical space—office, studio and client meeting space. What does a greener photography studio or meeting space look like? Here are a few ways that you can make your space greener … and save money, too. Look for more Tips for Greener Photography each month!

Location, Location, Location
   • Be convenient. Have your space easily accessible by public transportation, close to other convenient locations.
   • Look for a studio with good natural light to minimize use of electric lighting.
   • Consider the sun exposure of your space and the needs of your climate.
   • Make it multi-functional! Coffee shops, cooperative artist spaces, and home offices are an easy way to share the impact of your studio/meeting space.

What's on the Inside? Paint, Stain, Flooring, Plastering.
   • Use milk- or clay-based paints for walls and ceilings.
   • Look for zero- or low-VOC paint and other materials.
   • Use natural flooring made from local materials and/or reclaimed materials
   • Avoid synthetic carpet.

Furnish It Green
   • Buy used furniture.
   • Buy furnishings locally.
   • Look for certifications, such as Forest Steward Certification (FSC) and organic furniture/components.
   • Look for uncertified, but still important claims, such as Made in the USA, Non-toxic, Sustainable.

Smart Appliances
   • Buy used, but not older then 10 years.
   • Look for Energy Star certified.
   • Keep your refrigerator efficient: check fridge gaskets, keep fridge between 38-42 degrees, keep it full.

Smart Conservation
   • Turn off and unplug electronics when not in use, such as computers, TVs, projectors, scanners, printers, battery chargers, lights, etc.
   • If you use a UPS (uninteruptible power supply) to protect your computer and storage drives, plug a powerstrip plugged into the UPS and turn everything off at the strip.
   • Use compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) and dispose of them properly when finished.

Studio Samples and Photographic Products
   • Consider using press-printed products printed on recycled cardstock, such as sample prints, brochures, business cards, etc.
   • Consider printing sample prints on fiber paper such as canvas or cotton rag.
   • Show off your greenness with albums and frames that are eco-friendly.
   • Buy products and components made locally when possible. If not local, at least buy those made domestically.
   • Look for certifications, such as Forest Steward Certification (FSC), Organic.
   • Look for uncertified, but still important claims, such as Made in the USA, Non-toxic, Sustainable.
   • Buy from companies with an environmental action plan.

Be a Green Host/Hostess
   • Offer your clients filtered tap water or invest in a water cooler rather than offering individual plastic bottles of water.
   • Provide snacks/drinks to clients with glassware/reusable utensils, not disposables.

Keep it Clean but Green
   • Use natural cleaning products.
   • Recycle your ink cartridges.

Get the Temperature Right
   • Keep your heat set to less then 68 degrees.
   • Keep your cooling set to 78 degrees or higher.
   • Dress appropriately. Heating a body is much more efficient then heating air.
   • Use ceiling fans, especially in rooms with high ceilings.

Work Efficiently
   • Schedule meetings back to back, find other ways to minimize time spent in the office.
   • Bundle errands to minimize your driving to/from studio or office.

In the coming months, we'll bring you more in-depth tips on making your photography business greener. For more tips on greener photography and resources to help you find greener products and vendors, visit greenerphotography.org.

For more information on some of the energy-saving devices mentioned here, visit these links:

Smart Plug
http://blog.wired.com/gadgets/2008/12/smart-plug-powe.html

P3 Kill A Watt Electricity Load Meter and Monitor
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16882715001

Energy Use Calculators
http://www.santee.org/save/energycalculator.html
http://hes.lbl.gov/

Energy Star Products
http://www.energystar.gov/

Thea Dodds is a wedding and portrait photographer based in New Hampshire. She is also a Founder of Greener Photography, a non-profit organization that promotes environmentally-responsible photographic practices and products. You can learn more about Thea's work at authenticeye.com and greenerphotography.org.