The beauty of going green is that it’s usually cheap. Buying used stuff, recycling, and driving less also happen to save you a lot of money. Solar panels do not, but then again, you don’t need those for your home office.
Below are three bare-bones steps to setting up a green home office for $1,000 or less. Note that the prices listed are estimations of how much you need to spend for decent-quality goods. You can always go cheaper or free, depending on how thrifty, patient, and lucky you are:
Step 1: Buy used furniture.
Many cities have office liquidation outlets (I found this one near Denver). You can find a good used office chair for around $70, a clean used desk for $100–IKEA offers new ones for less–and a filing cabinet at the thrift store for $10.
Total cost: $180
Step 2: Buy a refurbished laptop.
You can purchase a good refurbished laptop for as little as 400. I found a Dell Latitude Core Duo for $419. Look around, and don’t be afraid to go used.
Total cost: $420
Step 3: Purchase an all-in-one printer/scanner/copier/fax.
We’ve been touting the HP Officejet Pro 8500 Wireless All-in-One as a good example of the kind of office machine that will save you waste and money. The HP, and devices like it, save you from either buying separate machines, or making endless trips to the copy shop. Buy used if your budget is very tight.
Total cost: $400 (or less–see below)
After completing these three steps, you’ll have the basics. You probably already own a cell phone and minor office supplies like pens and paper. Chances are, you’re already paying for an Internet connection, too.
You can build on your basic, green home office over time by adding more plants, replacing your light bulbs with energy-efficient CFLs, buying space heaters/fans, and making or buying green cleaning supplies.
Note that going green on the cheap might not be the same as going ergonomic. You might require more expensive, back-friendly chairs and raised computer monitors, which could set you back another $500 if you go used. Assess your needs in advance so that you save time, money, and effort buy buying your goods right the first time around.
Note to readers: HP has arranged a special offer for our readers to save 20% ($80) on the new HP Officejet Pro 8500 Wireless All-in-One. Go here for the coupon code and terms and conditions. Visit here for more product information.