Sustainable Duke recognizes that many more employees are working from home more regularly and there plenty of opportunities to improve the sustainability of our homes. Below are some tips to make improvements in your home. 


  • Turn off overhead lights that are not in use and use desk lamps with an LED bulb or natural light.
  • Set up your workplace near a window to utilize natural light.  
  • Adjust computer settings to go into "Stand by Mode" after 5 minutes and to "Hibernate/Sleep Mode" after 10 minutes. 
  • Use a power strip where all your electronics such as computers, monitors, desk printers, and lamps can be easily turned off with one click when not in use. 

Heating and Cooling 

  • Use curtains and blinds to block out thermal heat during warm months to maintain a cooler temperature. 
  • Plant in front of ground floor windows to keep out thermal heat in summer and let in thermal heat in winter. 
  • Set up home office on ground floors or basement during summer to keep cool. 
  • Set up home office on top floors during winter months to stay warm. 
  • Keep exterior windows and doors closed when your space is being heated or cooled with HVAC units. 
  • Adjust your thermostat settings to 76 degrees in summer and 70 degrees in winter. 
  • Turn off your HVAC system and open your windows to let in fresh air. 
  • Change HVAC filters regularly to improve efficiency. 


  • Managers encourage alternative commuting options and make employees aware of the resources provided by Duke Parking and Transportation for alternative commuting. 

Waste Reduction 

  • Reduce consumption of single use disposables by using reusable items such as mugs, bottles, cloth rags, reusable utensils, and straws. 
  • Recycle all possible paper, plastics #1-7, metals, glass, and cardboard. 
  • Recycle all electronic waste that is Duke property through the Duke Surplus Property Program
  • Print only when necessary and set printers to double sided printing only. 


  • Take walking meetings during phone calls inside or outside of your home or on Duke's campus. 
  • Prioritize natural light rather than overhead lighting when possible to align circadian rhythm. 
  • Take short breaks throughout the day to recharge by stretching, meditating, exercising, or calling family or friends. 
  • Walk your neighborhood and wave to neighbors. 
  • Set up home office near your work out equipment. 
  • Use a standing desk and balance board to improve core strength and posture while you work.