10 Easy Ways to go Green at the Office
There are a number of ways in which employees can go green at their cubicles or personal offices; however, the most significant step of going green at the office is by persuading administrators to adopt cost effective and environmentally friendly policies. This article discusses ten easy ways to go green at the office:
Cut Down on Energy
Energy costs at the office can be cut down in very simple steps. First and foremost, the office may use daylight in lieu of artificial light when appropriate. Workers can move their desks near windows so as to take advantage of free natural lighting. When natural lighting is not a realistic option, compact fluorescent bulbs may be used. These bulbs last up to ten times longer than ordinary bulbs and use 75% less energy. They are also available in various wattages and sizes.
Turning off computers and lights at the end of working hours should be made mandatory at the office. According to Office Depot, a 100-watt bulb working for one hour consumes approximately 37-kilowatt hours of energy annually. Contrary to popular belief, screen savers do not actually save energy; thus, computers ought to be set at sleep mode during the day, when workers are taking a break. Plug all the office appliances into power strips to make it easier to switch off all appliances at the end of the day (with just a single button).
Always purchase Energy Star-rated electronics.. These types of electronics can save up to two-thirds more energy than the non-compliant electronics. Also, consider controlling your power usage with a power toolkit (like this one http://www.powershop.com.au/)
Decorate with real plants
Artificial plants may be easy to maintain and nice to look at but other than that, they practically add no value to the office. On the other hand, real plants are not only attractive but they also purify the air by absorbing airborne pollutants. Additionally, they release oxygen and healthy negative ions into the air. Some good examples include the following: Bamboo, English Ivy, Peace Lily, Rubber plant and Spider plant. Water them at least once a week.
Eco-friendly Storage Units
As people around the world are becoming increasingly conscious about the environment, more and more eco-friendly storage units are being erected to support these efforts. Some of the features of these units include sustainable filing carts, shelving cubes, cabinets and storage boxes manufactured from recycled products. When looking for storage space for miscellaneous items, offices aiming to go green should choose these eco-friendly storage units. Though these units are costlier than the normal storage units, the equipment used are modern and are manufactured from sustainable materials, making them a worthwhile investment.
Recycle Office Waste
Another easy way for offices to go green is by recycling office waste. This may be done by designating separate trash containers for metal, glass, papers or plastics. Soda cans can be placed into one container while papers can be placed into another. Today, most urban areas have municipal services that collect such recycled waste and transfer it to a reclamation facility. By recycling trash in the office, the environmental footprint which is produced through various activities can be reduced. Additionally, recycling mobile devices and computers allows companies to reuse rare elements that were originally used in the manufacture of various electrical components.
Limit paper usage
Going digital is a very useful way of going green at the office. The internet is a great way of sharing information in the office, as it nullifies the need for printing information on paper. To limit paper usage further, overhead projectors and whiteboards can be used to display the agenda during meetings. Employees should be encouraged to print information only when necessary, and not at every available opportunity. And when printing is done, the front and back sides of the paper should be used whenever possible. More importantly, the printing paper used should ideally be manufactured from recycled paper.
The various types of devices found in most offices produce poisonous substances during the manufacturing and disposal stages. Technological advancements in the last decade have seen the invention of multifunctional machines. These machines can basically do everything; they can be used to scan documents, print, copy and fax, thereby reducing the emission of harmful substances into the air.
Telecommuting (Remote Work)
Vehicles and locomotives have proven to have a number of adverse effects on the environment. Offices can therefore contribute towards the reduction of these effects by telecommuting a few times during every month. This simply means that employees to do not have to commute to a central place of work – they may even work from home. Not only does this help to save the environment but it also saves a lot of time and money. Similarly, companies can limit the need for travelling by investing in video-conferencing facilities.
Turn off all taps completely and ensure that they do not drip. It is estimated that leaking taps (at a rate of one drop per second) waste more than 25 litres every day; this is about 10000 litres of water every year. Low-flow faucet aerators may also be installed so as to regulate the flow of water from office taps. Running toilets waste a lot of water and ought to be fixed on a regular basis.
The initial investment required for a solar power system may be expensive, but in the long run, more cash will be saved by installing one. Nonetheless, it is important to note that not every building is suitable for solar power. The building set-up and the geographical location are some of the key factors to consider before installing solar power.
Buy Eco-friendly Supplies
Lastly, offices can make it a policy to buy furniture and office supplies manufactured from recycled and environmentally friendly products. For instance, offices may purchase staple-less staplers and pens that can be refilled. Detergents used in the washrooms should also be environmentally safe. More so, hand driers and cloth towels are greener alternatives than paper cloths.
Going green at the office can be very easy and cost effective. Companies can actually contribute to a greener and safer planet without spending a lot of money. Even small steps such as printing less, saving water and buying recycled supplies can make a huge difference.
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