Go Green is all the rage these days for homes. But it can be the attitude in the workplace too, especially offices. The recommended things that can make the environment cleaner aren’t just a personal matter. Companies around the world have recognized this and are looking for ways to make their part of the earth more involved in the movement to Go Green.
So just what is your office going for recycling? If you’ve been thinking about it but don’t know what to do or where to start, here are nine things you can start today with little or no money!
- What Is Your Energy ConsumptionBefore you can begin to Go Green, you should find out just how “brown” you are first. There are tools available in the Portfolio Manager offer by the EPA’s Energy Star program that will help you gauge your business’ usage of energy and water. Even if you have just moved into your current location within the last five years, this tool will help you find the things that are beginning to wear down and using more energy.
- Curtail Paper UseAre there people in your office that print every single email, even though you have the blurb under the company logo about saving paper? It may be time to put out a reminder to everyone. And take another look at paperless contracts when closing those big deals! Your clients will be more impressed with your approach of Going Green than you may realize. And it could inspire them to do the same. If you don’t offer direct deposit, get set up for that and then encourage every employee with some sort of perk to sign up. How much paper are you putting out there on payday?
- The View OutsideYou’ll find this more of an issue if you are in an older buildings. If you own the building, you need to realize just how much of your cooling and heating is being wasted at the windows. It is expensive undertaking, but the money you can save over the next year just may pay for them.
And if you can’t really afford them right now or your landlord won’t spring for them, then resort to alternative window treatment like a low-emission glaze. This will keep the cool in during the hot months by reflecting the hot sun away and believe it or not, it will keep the heat in during the winter.
- Turn Off LightsOverhead lighting is a huge cost for offices on the electric bill. T12 fluorescent tubes are the standard for most commercial buildings and they are heat generators! They use a lot of electricity and because they do generate he, the air conditioning system has to work harder, which cost you more too. Your electric consumption can be cut drastically by installing new lenses and reflectors on the current light fixtures and installing dimming switches or occupancy sensors in rooms that aren’t used all day, like the break-room and restrooms.
- Lunch On The RoofEvery office has somebody with a green thumb. Work with them to get plants on the building’s rooftop and you’ll find that the water runoff will help cool the building in the summer. It is recommended to check with a professional contractor first to make sure the roof is capable of handling the weight.
- Green and Organic
When it comes time to freshen up the workplace, find a contractor that uses bio-degradable paint. The benefits of bio-degradable is not just that it is better for the overall environment, but your staff won’t have to deal with the obnoxious fumes either. When it is time to re-carpet, go green and use carpet tiles made from recycled materials. The tile factor will make it easier to replace just specific areas as needed instead of having to re-carpet the whole floor. Not to mention that by using tiles made of re-cycled material is environmentally friendly too. You can carry this practice all the way around the work place by buying chairs, desks and other furniture that are made from durable, recycled products. And where you can’t buy stuff that is made of recycled materials – make sure it can be recycled at the end of its life.
7. The Three E’s: Energy Efficient Equipment
If you haven’t updated your office equipment (fax machines,printers, etc) they probably are adding to the environment’s pollution using their dangerous chemicals and non-biodegradable supplies (ink, toner, etc). Take a little bit of investment and buy new equipment that is not only environmentally safe, but is made of recycled material and can be recycled when it’s done. And look for equipment that the supplies (ink and toner) are environmentally safe too.
8. Be A Fuel Saver
If your offices are in a major metropolitan area where mass transit is available, offer your employees that take that mode of transportation. Set up racks for the bike riders and where possible, offer virtual working options for your employees.
- Government Incentives Are Out ThereBy practicing sustainability, the government may reward you by way of recently created stimulus bills and tax incentives for going green. Check your City, State and the Federal levels for those incentives. You can get back up to 80 percent of the cost to install rooftop solar panels.