Typically, we spend more than half of our day at work. It’s important to consider making our offices more green. Here are some tips on how:
1) Conserve Energy
The easiest way to help save the environment is to consume less of its resources. One way you can do this in your office is to conserve energy. Machines and equipment not being actively used should be turned off. At the end of each day, shut down your computer. The added benefit of turning off your computer each day is that it will free up RAM and potentially reduce other issues, increasing your efficiency. Instead of running your overhead lighting all day, try to use natural light if possible. It doesn’t take long to turn off lighting in areas that aren’t actively being used, or have motion sensors set-up to turn on and off lights automatically.
Look into investing into compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs or light emitting diode (LED) bulbs for your lighting as they require only a small amount of energy to power. Lastly, look at your office thermostat and see if it has an energy savings sticker from Energy Star or another agency. High efficiency heating and cooling systems are even more important in an office complex or warehouse because of the vast amount of space that it is required to manage. You’ll also want to see if the thermostat can be adjusted by a degree or two to reduce how often your furnace or air conditioning unit needs to run.
2) Reduce & Recycle
Look around your office, do you see piles of papers everywhere? We can’t stop printing reports, graphs and information, but we can do a few things reduce our consumption. The first thing is to set your printing to duplex by default if your printer supports it. This means that it will use both sides of each paper. Many printers also come with eco modes that use less ink when printing.
Of course, you can also try to reduce printing by sharing needed files and information on your network or via e-mail so that everyone involved can get what they need on their own computer screens. Unless you need someone to sign their name, you likely could have found another way to present the information. You’ll want to also work at increasing recycling by putting blue bins at each desk and in high traffic areas. This will promote the recycling of papers, cans and bottles at people’s desks, and common usage areas and reduce waste going to the landfills.
3) Add Plants
You can decorate your office with real plants and receive the benefit of fresh air. A few commonly successful office plants worth considering include:
- Aloe Vera
- Peace Lilies
- Spider plants
They don’t require much direct light or watering, which makes them perfect for an office environment. Just be aware that pollen producing plants, which none of the above are, can be an allergen for some people in your office.
4) Consider Your Commute
Traffic jams everywhere, and idling in them is only causing continued pollution. With gas prices continuing to soar ever higher, it might be time for you to really consider your commute. Find out if you can carpool with someone in your office, or if you work in an office complex, find out if anyone in your building lives near you to expand your carpooling options.
If you can’t carpool, check out the options for transit. Transit systems are always changing, and there might be an option to get to and from work using public transportation that will save wear and tear on your vehicle, and often times get you to work faster than driving.
Lastly, if you live less than ten kilometres from work, you might want to look into cycling. It is great exercise, saves the environment and has a low overall cost. A mix of these methods could easily help reduce your reliance on your gas powered vehicle, and minimize any drawbacks or limitations.
5) Green Workstations
Of course, if you are at the point where your office needs to get new office furniture, purchasing re-manufactured is a great “green” option. Not only will re-manufactured furniture save your budget and have a quick turn around time, but it will also save the environment. You can purchase systems that will be re-manufactured to fit your needs, and it stops a ton of metal from going into our landfills.