GreenTech LogoIf your organization is like many others in the U.S., your office may be closed for several days during the upcoming weeks.

Here are 10 items to check off your list while shutting down for those days. In addition to helping the environment, you will also save money on electricity and prolong the life of many of your office electronics.

1. Shut down all computers; don't just put them in sleep mode. Computers in sleep mode still use a lot of energy.

2. Consider turning off servers that will not be used. Obviously, you can't shut down the server running your website or email, but do you need the file server or the print server running? Before unplugging computers and servers, please check with your IT department if you have one. They may be planning upgrades and backups while you are away from your computer.

3. Turn off all peripheral accessories like monitors, speakers, docking stations, and so on. This can be easy if you have a smart power strip.

4. Turn off other office machines; don't just put them in sleep mode. Copiers, printers, scanners, projectors, and maybe even your fax machine. Look for those machines around your office that have a little green light glowing on them. If you can, shut them down or unplug them. Unplug TVs, VCRs, and DVD players. Unplug chargers for computers, cell phones, iPods, and other chargeable devices. Shut off as many power strips as you can.

According to Green Home Huddle "Your cell phone charger, iPod charger, laptop charger, etc. keep drawing electricity even if your phone/iPod/laptop/etc isn't charging. So if your phone says "charge complete" (or worse, isn't even attached), pull out the charger."

In addition to your technology, look for these other resource-wasters:

5. Turn down the heat. If the office is empty, no one will complain if it gets a little chilly, but make sure to keep it above freezing so your pipes don't burst if you live in a below-freezing area.

6. Look for personal lights, radios, fans, and heaters left on around the office. Switch them off or unplug.

7. In the kitchen, unplug coffee pots, the microwave, and anything else that has a clock or is needlessly using power in standby mode.

8. Make sure no water is dripping and no toilets running.

9. Did you plug in festive lights and decorations? Please unplug them while you are gone.

10. Before going on break, you might also consider doing a little technical house-cleaning. Throw away files and emails you no longer need, organize your files so you can find things more easily, and reboot the servers that will continue to run over the vacation like email and web servers. If you are storing less, you need fewer and smaller hard drives and your backup systems won't have to work as hard.

Bonus: Lastly, don't forget to turn off the lights!

Happy green holidays from all of us at TechSoup's GreenTech Initiative. See you all in the New Year!

This post was originally published in December 2008, but since it holds lots of useful information for closing your office over a holiday break, we wanted to update it and put it at the top of our list for the 2012 holiday.

Anna Jaeger
Co-Director of TechSoup's GreenTech Initiative