In the second of our Going Green series (check out the first part here) we look at creating an environmentally friendly office environment with some simple steps you can take.
Buildings and offices use a significant amount of energy and resources so small steps can have a significant impact, no matter the size of your office. Green measures can make your working environment healthier, and as a result more productive, as well as improve overall well-being of your employees.
There are a number of different steps you can take but here are some ideas to get you started:
- Reuse it – Remember you don’t always need to buy new. If you are upgrading the office furniture you may be able to source some good quality second hand furniture. Is the furniture you are replacing good enough to be used by someone else? Perhaps your local community scheme could put them to good use. Reuse could also be as simple as avoiding disposable plates and cups (water cooler cups, for example). Using real mugs and plates that can be reused time and again saves money and also is environmentally beneficial.
- Use Recycled – Where possible use recycled materials, this could be paper, stationary, corporate gifts etc.
Turn it off – If you are the last one out the office be sure to turn off the lights, also items that are plugged in or on standby still use energy. A computer left on overnight over the course of a year generates enough CO2 to fill a double-decker bus! Try posters and auto reminders to make sure everyone understands the importance of this.
- Educate and Communicate – Make your staff aware of targets and aims, and let them know how they can help. For example, food waste is a huge problem, so let staff have access to information about reducing this- check out Love Food Hate Waste. Also, communicate progress and success, and create opportunities for staff to share suggestions and ideas they may have.
- Paper conservation – Don’t print emails and non essential documents, this will not only this mean that you save paper but also keep a less cluttered and more organised working environment. You might also want to set up default double sided printing. And of course, reuse scrap paper for notes and recycle all your paper!
Air Quality – reducing indoor air pollution can be achieved by using non-toxic cleaning products. Adding plants to the office will help filter the air replenish oxygen. Air quality impacts directly on the health and wellbeing of the occupants of the office.
- Green Your Commute – If you live near work, why not walk or cycle? Does the office have public transport links? Consider car sharing with a colleague if suitable (you never know, you might make a new best friend!). This not only is green but can save both parties money.