Top 10 Tips for Greening Your Post House

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Lesley Chilcott, Executive Producer, Cut + Run/Los Angeles
Lesley Chilcott, Executive Producer, Cut + Run/Los Angeles
Lesley Chilcott, one of the producers of the Oscar winning documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, and an executive producer at Cut + Run/L.A., where, it so happens the film was also edited, has been on a mission to make the editing house as eco-friendly as possible. Here, in our inaugural Frontlines column on environmental awareness, she gives us her suggestions on greening yours too, but the lessons that follow are worthy advice for anyone in the industry.

1. SHUT IT OFF AND UNPLUG IT. Regarding lighting, most offices, hallways and bathrooms are overlit, and if no one is working in an edit bay that day, then shut the lights off. Even if the bay is working, put all the equipment you can on power strips and when it's not in use, shut it off. This means computers, monitors, and peripherals. Sleep your computer screens after 10 minutes of inactivity. With screensavers on, your monitors don't actually shut down. Set them to sleep after a mere 10 minutes and don't use screensavers. Take it one step further and unplug appliances in your kitchen and conference rooms when they're not in use too. Even if they're off, they're still sucking a minute amount of energy, and that adds up. Here's a big one: unplug your cell phone chargers, iPod chargers, and other chargers when they're not in use too.

2. SWAP IT OUT. Swap out your regular lighting to CFLs or LEDs where you can. CFLs are about 10 times as efficient as regular incandescents. And LEDs are about 10 times as efficient as CFLs. you do the math. (If you choose CFLs, do not throw them in the trash after their use. They contain mercury and must be taken to a toxic waste collection site). CFLs are those goofy, swirly looking lights that are everywhere now. Finally, they are making them in warmer looking color temperatures so they're no longer alien blue. LEDs are made up of lots of tiny little lights that are incredibly bright, so when buying these, make sure you get warm white, or something in the 3000K range.

3. LOSE THE PLASTIC. Eliminate water bottles. This is incredibly wasteful. Put a filter on your kitchen tab and serve water to each edit bay in glass pitchers (with glasses).

4. GO LOCAL, GO ORGANIC. Have your client services shop for local produce and products, organic where possible, and shop seasonally. We didn't always have strawberries available in the dead of winter! Having things like this shipped in at any time of the year wastes a lot of energy in transportation, and buying organic not only reduces the amounts of pesticides you ingest but keeps less of them from going into the soil . Also, if you have a chef in your kitchen, download a safe fish list (Monterrey Bay Aquarium has a great one), and don't buy fish high in mercury or types that have been overfished.

5.RECYCLE, DOH. But take this a little further. Provide an e-waste bin in the back of your office and have your runner take it, once a month, to the local recycling center. You can put batteries in there, old CFL's, etc.

6. NO VIRGIN PAPER. All the paper you buy should be at least 70% recycled. Print your office stationery on recycled paper and use soy or low-impact inks for printing.

7. POST IT.FedEx less tapes and reels and put as much as you can online.

8. ECO-SCHWAG. Company premiums should be eco-friendly. T-shirts can be organic cotton, and you can give out reusable coffee mugs so clients can use them for coffee runs instead of the paper Starbucks cups that get thrown in the trash. Offer non-leaching Nalgene bottles with your logo on them for people to cart around water. Put some thought into it; you'll come up with all sorts of groovy ideas.

9. GREEN POWER. Sign up for green power with your local power company. Get a power audit as well. Here are some samples:


SoCALEdison Green Audit

PGE Climate Smart

ConEd Solutions

Chicago ComEd

ComEd's Energy Audit

PGE Smart Energy Online Power Audit

DOE Energy Calculator

The Green Power Guide gives comprehensive information of available green energy programs state by state.

And for your personal use, Native Energy has a great online calculator and is very easy to use.

10. CONSIDER GOING CARBON NEUTRAL. Or offset the energy used on jobs by buying carbon offsets. Please consider joining Cut + Run in making line 6150 the carbon offset line on jobs. If the client won't pay, offer to! Email me for more info: [email protected]

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