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10 Essential Considerations When Going Green in the Office

Green OfficeAre you looking to create the ultimate green workplace? Not only is this a solid strategy for differentiating yourself in the market as an environmental advocate, you will also be ensuring your organization has a much smaller carbon footprint. These 10 ideas will help produce an eco-friendly office:

1. Paperless Operations

This is the single best strategy for saving both the environment and your supplies budget. By creating PDF’s and using email instead of printouts and physical mailings, your office’s taxation on the planet’s resources will drop. An added bonus is your overall operation will become more streamlined and secure by using digital documents in the office.

2. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Create a recycling plan for your office supplies.  First, be sure to put out recycling bins next to the garbage cans. Consider reusing single sided paper for scratch paper. In addition, don’t forget to bring old ink cartridges to a supply-recycling collector such as Staples.

Also, old office equipment pose serious risks to the environment if not recycled correctly. In fact, CRT monitors are the worst culprits as they contain at least 5 pounds of lead. With technology changing at such a rapid pace, be sure to recycle or donate unneeded equipment at authorized facilities.

3. Use Surge Protectors

If coworkers shut their entire desk down at night, your office would save an amazing amount of energy. With a surge protector everything can be plugged into one central unit and shut off with a single switch. No longer would anyone forget to turn off, for instance, the printer or monitor. Also, the technology in newer surge protectors is much better for power efficiency.

4. Encourage Smarter Transportation Methods

Trains and buses are excellent methods for daily commutes. Biking and walking for the select few close enough to the office is even better.  If you are located in a suburban or rural area, carpooling will become a viable option as well.

The best way to promote smarter transportation methods is to develop an incentive plan for coworkers. Anything from a free or discounted public transit card to gas cards and close parking spots will do wonders to promote green transportation.

5. Video Conferencing

If you have multiple locations, a video conferencing system is perfect to eliminate unnecessary traveling. Meetings between offices become much greener while increasing productivity and overall efficiency. Luckily, the cost of this technology has dropped considerably too.

6. Task Lighting and Halogen Bulbs

Without the need for large energy consuming fluorescent lights, your office’s energy bill will drop. Instead, use tiny desk lights, which can be used only when needed. For main lights be sure to use energy efficient halogens.

7. Environmentally Friendly Interior Design

Eco-friendly paint, flooring and other building materials are great choices when remodeling or building your office. Additionally, by using green or recycled office furniture, you can be assured your office’s interior is as environmentally friendly as possible. Best yet? Your coworkers and guests will appreciate the much healthier and greener workplace.

8. Lots of Plants

Boost morale and health by adding a little extra oxygen and beauty to the office. These plants are perfect for the office environment and will reduce pollutants.

9. Install Energy Star Equipment

As you buy new computers and appliances, be sure to get the most energy efficient technology available. Keep in mind that an energy star rating is a range of acceptable energy consumption metrics. Which means two similar products could vary greatly in their yearly energy usage. Manufacturers may bury the bad numbers in the documentation so remember to look at the actual energy star label for the information. And remember Caveat Emptor – Buyer Beware.

10. Get Everyone In The Office To Pitch In

Set up a suggestion box for green office ideas. Your coworkers will be more than happy to help out in greening the office.

Wondering where to start? Complete a green audit.

If you are located in a progressive city, chances are good that there will be a green audit consultant available. They will come to your office and inspect your current operations.  By the end you will receive a report, giving you great insight into your next needed steps.

If, however, you do not or cannot hire a green auditor, I have found this nice green audit checklist (MS Excel file). It will give you a great outline of what needs to be done to turn your workplace into an eco-friendly office. Good luck!

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