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Going green doesn’t only show that your office cares about the environment – in many cases, it also saves you money. With the environment in its current state, businesses everywhere are beginning to develop an eco-conscience. They’re prioritizing the planet by reducing the amount of waste that they generate and relying less on external resources to keep themselves going. This isn’t only for the wealthy elite – even small businesses can implement changes that will have a positive impact on the planet. 1. Buy Used Furniture Used furniture has a lot of charm. Every piece has a personality and unique aesthetic. When you need desks or tables, consider purchasing one that someone has already loved. By using old furniture, you aren’t relying on the production of new furniture. A slightly mismatched office might even feel a little more warm and welcoming. When you can’t find something old and new furniture needs to be purchased, make sure you’re buying from a company that crafts their furniture from sustainable resources. 2. Upcycle Everything Before you throw something away, try to see it as something else. Even cardboard boxes can become something worth much more. With a little elbow grease, cardboard boxes can become things like stylish organizers. It’s a fun and creative project for the workplace that will emphasize the importance of reducing waste and becoming an innovative thinker. Every workplace could benefit from more projects like these. 3. Rely on Natural Sunlight Turn off the lights in your office in the middle of the day. Is it dark and cavernous? If so, it might be time to hit Gumtree for a new office with enough windows. Office equipment requires a lot of electricity, and you can reduce the amount of energy you consume by relying primarily on the sun for light. You may need to flip on the lights when you’re working into the evening or the weather is particularly gloomy, but most workdays won’t require an excess of electricity. 4. Ditch the Vending Machine A lot of waste goes into creating the single serving processed foods usually found in vending machines – not to mention the fact that these machines have a tendency to suck up a lot of electricity. Get rid of your vending machine and replace office snacks with fresh locally sourced fruits and vegetables. Not only are you reducing waste and supporting local farmers, you’re also encouraging your employees to make healthier choices. This is a scenario in which everyone wins, and it’s very easy to implement. 5. Go Paperless Almost all offices are going paperless in modern times. This isn’t just a green initiative – it also saves costs on supplies that constantly need to be replenished. Using document sharing services (like the free Google Docs) to share important memos with employees saves you from having to print 50 copies of the same memo. If your company uses Cloud technology, you can rely on that to keep your important backups safe. Take the things that arrive to you in paper form and scan them, turning them in to searchable PDFs. Recycle the paper you don’t need anymore. There are countless ways to reduce your paper consumption, and many of them will make your office space a little more efficient. Since an interest in green office environments has skyrocketed, it’s easier than ever to make the transition. There are countless solutions for green office spaces, and equipment suppliers often have green alternatives for the workplace. Before you know it, you’ll be saving money and clearing your conscience.
Thinking green isn’t something only certain industries should consider, but it’s pretty much a matter every business owner needs to deal with. Furthermore, multiple studies suggest that green initiatives not only lower the carbon footprint and allow companies to save extra money, but also can dramatically increase productivity within your organization. Contradictory to the widespread opinion, every step counts towards going green and if you don’t know from where to start just follow my 5 really simple ideas for greener, far more productive office: #1 Consider Alternative Power Sources Wind and especially solar energy doesn’t require huge upfront investments – you can probably install solar panels at just fraction of your yearly electricity expenses and become completely independent in terms of electrical power. Furthermore, many states throughout the world offer extra incentives to businesses switching to alternative power sources and also the ability to sell the extra power to the utility company to bring extra income for your business. Unfortunately, there are many cases when solar power is not applicable due to the office setup or building ownership. #2 Go Digital Even if you are a small business, chances are you print dozens, even hundreds of documents on daily basis. Do you really need to do that? There are specialised software solutions for pretty much anything – from meeting room management software (such as Pronestor Room and Yarooms) to project management & collaboration tools (such as ToDoIst and Zoho Projects). Going digital will not only result in saving huge quantities of paper and other supplies, but also money and most importantly will skyrocket your employee’s productivity. With pretty much every aspect of business management going online, getting on the digital bandwagon is mandatory these days! #3 Eliminate Phantom Power & Screen Savers Phantom power and screensavers are responsible for large percentage of your utility bills. Believe it or not, electronic devices consume power, even if they are turned off and when these small costs pile up, you can quickly see how much money are going down the drain on yearly basis. The solution is simple – just configure all monitors to turn off after certain period of time and make sure all electronic devices are plugged out in the end of the work day. Depending on the size of your office and number of employees, the result could be huge savings! #4 Switch to LED Bulbs and Use Natural Light Studies suggest that approximately 40% of all electricity expenses in office buildings occur due to artificial lighting. Switching to LED light bulbs (they consume at least 80% less energy than traditional incandescent light bulbs and have more than 100 times longer lifespan) will cut down the power consumption by more than half and if you do manage to effectively use natural light, this percentage can quickly go down even more! #5 Try to Buy Second-Hand Almost all office devices – from the printer to the coffee machine can be purchased second-hand. In order to produce each one of these devices companies use large quantities of natural resources, so buying used items really makes a difference. It allows you to leverage one of the main principals of green thinking and also allows you to make huge savings, since often you will be able to save at least 50% of the regular price.
HannahWhittenly posted a blog entry in HannahWhittenly's BlogWhen people think about environmentally friendly living, they normally think about their own homes. You might consider how to reduce electrical usage by watching less TV and using lamps, recycle more of your used containers, and reuse all sorts of items to cut down on waste. However, all of these ideas and more can be carried over to the office to create a clean, healthy, and sustainable workplace. Unplug Keeping unused appliances plugged in can drain a huge amount of electricity every day. Employees should be sure to unplug the small things they can, such as toasters and coffee makers, in break rooms and should place computer and printers on electrical strips to enable quick electrical shut off at the end of the day. Reduce Paper Usage Most workplaces go through mountains of paper every week. To decrease this, employees should be instructed to reread and rewrite papers before printing them and to eliminate excessive printing. Many offices can also go completely digital with records kept in virtual clouds. Bring in Fresh Plants Offices that want to take going green quite literally can bring in live plants to set in sunny locations. These plants not only brighten up the atmosphere, but also create cleaner, healthier air without the use of an electrical air purifier. Brown Bag It Instead of using vending machines, employees can be encouraged to bring brown bagged lunches from home using reusable glass containers. You can create a welcoming space with plenty of chairs and tables for socializing and lunch in the break room. This also helps the environment by reducing vehicle emissions from cars being used on lunch breaks. Keep It Clean Every office has to be kept clean and sanitary, but even this can be done in an eco-friendly way. While environmentally friendly cleaning products were quite scarce a few years ago, they can now be found in nearly any big box store. Some examples include Mrs. Meyer’s and Seventh Generation brands. Make It Easy Almost anyone can be convinced to recycle cans, glass, and plastic if it is made easy. Offices should install recycling bins in all break rooms and cans for paper waste near each desk. Even offices going through remodels can search for a building repair company that recycles building materials. Companies like Sullivan Engineering can even be consulted with to explain the beneficial reasons for green roofing and come up with a plan to make your entire building more sustainable. Every person can make at least a small contribution to greener living both at home and at the office. From reducing electrical usage and making use of natural light to coming up with new ways to inspire coworkers to recycle, any size office can have an impact on the health of the earth. It is up to each person to keep the world clean and healthy for future generations.
ericjones posted a blog entry in Environmental BlogFor decades, business has been depicted as an unstoppable force of pollution and wasteful practices victimizing the natural world. Now, however, increasingly efficient technology has made it both affordable and easy to reduce your company's impact on the environment. These are ten of the most quick and effective ways to green your office and contribute to the conservation movement. Mind the Lights In busy offices, it can be tempting to leave lights on at all times. Not only does this harm the environment by wasting electricity and requiring the manufacture of more light bulbs, but it also runs up your energy bill. A simple reminder to turn off the lights as employees exit a room is all that is needed to be more eco-friendly. Reduce Paper Consumption Despite operating in the digital age, many companies blow through reams of paper without a second thought and then throw it into a landfill to decompose. Paper waste is easy to overlook and even easier to correct. Set printers to print double-sided pages to automatically cut paper use in half, or buy recycled paper to save a few more trees. Whenever possible, keep documents digital and distribute them through email or cloud sharing. Even the paper cups seen so often in break rooms or by a water cooler can be replaced by personal mugs. Organize Car Pools Offices tend to draw in employees from miles away, driving alone for the entire trip. With some careful planning, commuters can lower their monthly gas bills while adding less carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. Encourage your workers to make plans based on geographic proximity and to trade off driving duties. Although it takes coordination and responsibility, an established car pool is easy to maintain and beneficial to all parties. Minimize Heating and Air Conditioning The perceived need to keep air at a steady temperature throughout the year leads to an overuse of heating and air conditioning when people are perfectly capable of acclimating to seasonal variations. A difference of a few degrees, lower in winter and higher in summer, will in all likelihood only be noticeable to accountants tallying up savings in your heating and air conditioning budget. Promote Recycling Recycling is one of the oldest methods used to improve eco-consciousness, and it remains one of the most valuable. Giving resources a second life removes pressure from the environment, which sustains a massive load of new development and mining in large part due to inefficiency and a reliance on immense landfills. Encourage recycling by placing bins next to regular trash cans and hosting educational workshops to refresh knowledge about what can and cannot be recycled. Businesses can further recycle paper, cardboard boxes and packing supplies, which is again likely to save money. Use Green Cleaning Products Air quality in an office can contain more pollutants than the outside world because of toxic cleaning supplies. These chemicals, when flushed down a drain, also contaminate water supplies and local soil, leading to a buildup that damages plants and animals in the area. Nontoxic cleaning supplies result in the same sanitary surfaces but are less damaging to employees and the environment. Buy Used Recycling supplies manufacturers with more eco-friendly materials, but it is better to recycle equipment as well. Used office furniture is just as practical as new and often shows little to no signs of wear. Even better, they come at a steep discount for the same quality. Another option is to rent serviced offices, which may be fully furnished and use fewer resources with every transition. Optimize Computer Settings Electronics are now so ubiquitous in office settings that they are left running without much regard for their energy consumption. Besides being kept on to needlessly sap electricity, they may also be running at a higher performance level than standard office work requires. Change computer settings to power saving modes so that they will go to sleep during stretches of inactivity and moderate performance. At night, unplug the power strip as well as shutting down the machines to prevent electricity leeching. Grow Plants Office plants are a beautiful accent that also improve air quality in a building. Businesses with grounds can take this one step further by planting trees or even converting some acreage to a natural ecosystem. Lawns, though pleasant to look at, demand far more water, nutrients and fossil fuels to maintain while providing no value to local wildlife. Consider Telecommuting More and more businesses are turning to telecommuting as a cost-effective way to reduce the space needs and environmental impact of their offices. There are still concerns about employee productivity, but dedicated workers can actually get more done without the worries of commuting and office politics. The move can cut costs for everyone involved and drastically reduce the environmental footprint of each employee.