October 8, 2019
Tips to make your office environmentally friendly
The urge to make the world a greener place has become more apparent over the years as the levels of plastic begins to increase in our oceans. I am sure we play our part at home by recycling where we can and taking the greener option where applicable, whether it is solar or reusable bags.
However, apart from our homes, most of us also spend a majority of our day at work in the office where we are more concerned about what’s for lunch rather than how we dispose of that empty milk bottle. It’s the little things that count and we aren’t necessarily asking you to make drastic changes but here are some simple steps to make your office more eco-friendly.
What started off as an office design trend has now become a worldwide movement to help preserve the environment and to create a more sustainable future.
Going green and transforming your office into a more eco-friendly space has never been easier and has more benefits than you may realise.
Apart from creating a more sustainable future, a green office can also increase productivity, promote positive employees, lower absenteeism, and increase revenue.
If you’re stuck for ideas on how to transform your office space into a more eco-friendly environment, here are 5 simple ways to go green in your office.
1- Office supplies
A good place to begin would be replacing your office supplies with eco-friendly products, this is a fast and easy approach, and does not require you to make any huge changes to your office environment. Here is a list of green supplies if you are unsure on where to start:
- Refillable pens make it easier to keep track of how many pens are used and are simply refilled with ink.
- Post-consumer waste (PCW) is paper made entirely from recycled paper and costs 45 percent less energy to create and uses half the traditional papermaking process.
- Biodegradable cleaning products ensures that you are not washing down any nasty toxins or chemicals down the sink and into our environment.
- Set settings for printing: It is time to commit to digitisation, or print using pre-programmed settings in black and white and double-sided pages, and or create a rewards program for staff engaging a greener future, whatever it is, the time is now.
2: Add more greenery
Adding indoor plants is one of the easiest and most effective ways of creating a greener office. Not only do indoor plants brighten up the office, studies have also shown that they can reduce stress, reduce noise levels, improve air quality, and increase productivity by up to 15% in the workplace.
Plants clean interior air by removing harmful pollutants and volatile organic compounds which are typically found in deodorants, carpet, paint, furniture and building materials. Consider adding pot plants, hanging pots or investing in a ‘green wall’.
3: Use energy-efficient lighting and use natural light
Use as much natural light as possible by opening all curtains and blinds, not only will this save on your electricity bill, but it’ll also reduce your energy consumption. Artificial lighting is responsible for almost 20% of a building’s energy use. Ideally, you want to replace all artificial lighting with LED lights, which are the most energy efficient lights available.
Install motion activated lights for areas that aren’t used very often, including bathrooms, conference rooms and storage, to ensure lights are only switched on when they are needed.
4: Go paperless
Despite living in a digital age with cloud storage services, USBs and computer harddrives, going paperless remains a big hurdle for most businesses. Corrections, revisions, and updates on printed documents contribute to more than 90% of all office wastage with the other 10% sitting in filing cabinets and storage.
To begin the paperless process in your office, consider printing less and setting up e-statements and invoices. Setting up automated payments and virtual receipts will also reduce the need for printing.
5: Control your office climate
How many times have you walked into your office and realised it’s colder inside than it is outside, and it’s the middle of winter? Office air conditioning systems are usually the biggest source of energy use, but also the easiest to moderate. Finding a sustainable way to moderate office climate can result in huge savings on your electricity bill.
Consider exposed concrete walls, which can help moderate the temperature in the office by absorbing the heat. Installing insulated glass, blinds or curtains can also significantly affect office climate. Rather than blasting the AC all year round, to the point where your employees are wearing jumpers and jackets inside on a 30degree day, increasing the degrees up 1 or 2 can greatly reduce energy costs.
6: Sustainable office flooring
We understand not everyone has the ability to change their office floor type, but opting for eco-friendly commercial flooring in the office can have a positive impact.
Sustainable flooring is non-toxic and does not contain any harmful pollutants such as VOC (volatile organic compounds). They are also extremely durable without sacrificing beauty.
There are a number of great eco-friendly flooring types available that are not only cost-effective but aesthetically pleasing. You may want to consider cork or linoleum which are made from renewable sources and materials such as oak tree bark, linseed oil and tree resins.
If you are unsure on what eco-friendly flooring is best suited for your space it is always a good idea to consult the professionals.
7: Energy Audit
There are a number of ways to go green and save on costs when it comes to energy. First off, run an energy audit to find out if they are any electrical leaks. Check all electrical appliances to see what their energy star label rating is to give you an indication of whether the product needs replacing.
The rating will allow you to assess the products energy and cash requirements over time. Ensure that you recycle any appliances that need replacing, click here if you are unsure of where to recycle electrical appliances. You may also want to consider renewable energy sources, such as wind or solar, and if applicable geothermal and hydropower.
8: Setup Environmental Management System
You can use the EMS tool in conjunction with your energy audit to help manage your current and future environmental impact. What to include in your EMS:
- Identify environmental impacts of your business
- Setting your environmental objectives and targets, in line with your business
- Outline your operational and emergency procedures related to environmental matters
- Areas for ongoing improvement