Go Green: How to Make Your Office Greener and More Environment-Friendly

Green is in! Small businesses, large multinationals and everyone in between is consciously working towards ‘going green’ and becoming more eco-friendly.

And it actually makes sense. With computers, electrical equipment and work places taking up more energy, producing more heat, releasing harmful gases into the environment, and buildings becoming more energy-inefficient in general, going green can actually make a big difference.

Since it is Earth Day today, here are a few things that you too can do to make your office (or at the very least, your office-space) more green and eco-friendly and take a step towards reducing your carbon footprint as well:

1. Recycle

This is by far one of the easiest (cheapest!) things you can do when it comes to going green: recycle. It is easy to do, helps reduce clutter and protect the environment, makes use of what would otherwise have just been waste, is cost-effective and money-saving, and it feels good to be able to save the environment doesn’t it!

Start something like an office-wide recycling program. This could involve doing things like setting up recycling bins in and around the office and encouraging people to properly dispose of paper, plastic as well as office items like batteries, ink cartridges, used stationery and other things.

In addition, make sure your office recycles paper – modern-day printers and photocopy machines can be set to print on both sides of a paper sheet.

2. Stop Using Paper

According to a Environmental Defense Fund study, the read cost of a $2 ream of office paper is actually $62 when you factor in storage, printing, recycling, disposal and postage costs!

The solution is simple: don’t print unless absolutely necessary.

Replace paper with electronic mediums whenever and wherever possible. Use electronic alternatives such as emails, iPads, smartphones, apps (electronic note takers, calendar apps, etc.) and so on instead of using printers to waste paper. If you think about it, a large percentage of things that we print without thinking twice can easily be read on computers and tablet PC’s.

Not only will these allow you to save up a ton of paper as well as save floor and file-space, and hence instantly become more environment-friendly, unlike paper, electronic alternatives can also be password-protected and hence are safe from unauthorized access and/or prying eyes, and of course can be easily backed-up so you don’t lose your documents to fire, flood, theft or any other mishap.

And make sure you recycle whatever paper is used in the office in whatever way possible.

3. Introduce a Little Green into Your Office (Literally!)

Introduce a little flora and green into your office space. Add plants and flowers in different places inside your office. Many studies have actually shown that adding a little green to the office actually improves productivity and motivation, improves working conditions, helps reduce and alleviate stress, adds colors to an otherwise-dull office environment, makes the office space more homely, calm and comfortable, and simply makes the office a better place to look at and work in.

In addition, plants help reduce dust, CO2, are natural humidifiers, and eliminate toxins from the air as well.

And what better way to show that you’re going green than to actually introduce a little green in your surroundings!

For ideas on what plants to add to your office, ApartmentTherapy and WikiHow might be of help.

4. Using More Efficient Lighting

By far the biggest waste of all! According to the stats, commercial buildings consume more than one-third of all energy produced in the US, and this remains one of the largest operating expense of commercial office buildings!

As part of your office-wide go-green regime, you could do many different things to reduce your energy expense and become more efficient and green. For starters, replace all inefficient bulbs and lighting with more energy-efficient fluorescent and LED-lighting. The latter not only produce more light, but at the same time use much less electricity and heat, which will also help reduce your air-conditioning expense.

Yes, it will be expense to replace the lighting in your office-space, especially if it’s a big building, however it is a one-time expense, and LED lights last much longer as well.

In addition, you could also look into adding motion-controlled sensors hooked up with the lighting system, so that lights are only turned on when there’s someone around, and are turned off to save energy and cost otherwise.

5.  Invest in More Efficient Electronic Equipment

In addition, one major thing that you can do is make sure that all office-equipment, supplies and machines which draw power and remain powered up 24/7 – such as printers, copiers, scanners, computers, modems and routers, fax machines, and so on – are energy-efficient and eco-friendly.

A lot of electronics manufacturers now specifically mention that their products are eco-friendly and energy-efficient on the equipment, so look for equipment that comes with the Energy Star logo, for instance.

Most modern-day electronic equipment go on stand-by when not being used to save energy and cost. However not only should you always make it a point to shut down electronics drawing power, such as computers and screens, before closing-up shop, but also introduce an office-wide memo asking everyone else to do the same.

Over to You

This is not an exhaustive list by any means, and there’s actually a whole lot more that you can do in order to be more eco- and environmentally-friendly.

What ideas do you have to make your office in terms of going-gree? Leave us your thoughts and comments in the comments section below!