Modern workplaces use a significant amount of resources each day to stay operational. Over time, this resource consumption can take its toll on the environment, especially in larger office buildings and warehouses. Luckily, even small changes in how your business operates can make a significant impact when reducing your carbon footprint. With that in mind, here are eights tips for going green at work and creating a healthier office workspace.
Use Energy-Efficient Office Lighting
Most offices use T12 fluorescent lighting to illuminate working areas. However, fluorescent lights have shorter lifespans than other lighting options and can be a large energy drain for offices. Switching to LED lighting can reduce energy consumption by up to 80 percent and also have a higher distribution of light, meaning you can use fewer bulbs for the same lighting areas.
Start a Recycling Program
It's a little surprising this day and age, but many offices don't have recycling programs. If this is the case where you work, starting a recycling program for the office can be a great way to give back to the environment. Encourage your coworkers to do their part by recycling their lunch materials in separate bins rather than throwing everything into one trash bin. Using compost bins for old coffee grounds and fruit and vegetable peelings is another eco-friendly to manage office garbage.
Minimize Printer Usage
Offices can go through thousands of pieces of paper a week. This impacts the environment and in many cases can be avoided. Get in the habit of reviewing documents on your screen instead of printing them out. And, by using email and file sharing programs, offices can reduce the amount of printing they need to do, minimizes their paper usage and corresponding need for printer resources.
Switch to Non-Toxic Cleaning Supplies
Many cleaning products contain harmful chemicals that are damaging to the environment. Switching to non-toxic cleaning supplies is a great way to reduce potential pollution in the water as well as protect employees who may have allergic reactions to certain caustics.
Reduce the Use of Space Heaters and/or Air Conditioning
Space heaters can be another large cause of energy consumption in the workplace. By encouraging employees to dress warmer during the winter months and keeping moderate temperatures in the office, you can reduce the need to operate multiple space heaters. Conversely, in warmer months resist the temptation to freeze out your coworkers. Moving the thermostat even just one degree up, say from 74° to 75°, can save on unnecessary energy usage and also save money. Besides, it sets an example for positive energy usage elsewhere in your life.
Reuse Packaging Materials
Packaging materials are typically discarded as shipments are received and unpackaged. This added waste can create unnecessary damage to the environment, especially styrofoam packaging. Rather than throwing away packaging materials, by using bins to collect and reuse these materials, you'll reduce your carbon footprint while also saving money.
Switch to Motion-Sensor Faucets
When employees use washroom sinks, there can be a tendency to leave the water running longer than it needs to. Over time, water waste can add up significantly and negatively impact the environment, particularly in areas like California where drought has been a major issue recently. Installing motion sensor faucets is a great way to ensure efficient water usage in the office and is also effective in helping to control the spread of germs.
Encourage Eco-Friendly Commuting
One of the best ways to go green at your office is by encouraging more eco-friendly commuting. In a large office setting, greenhouse gas emissions can be considerable if everyone drives their own vehicle to work. Providing discounts for public transportation or creating programs that encourage bike riding or carpooling is a responsible initiative for organizations looking to be mindful of their impact on the environment.
Creating a green initiative at your office is the responsible thing to do. By following these eight tips to maintain an eco-friendly workplace, you can reduce your carbon footprint while creating a healthier environment for your employees.
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