What you can do: Easy ways employees can turn an office green
Eco-friendly improvements that any office can do to help reduce environmental impact in the workplace.
Content provided by Lea Green, PGi Social Media Manager
An increasing number of individuals and families are joining the ranks of the green movement, adopting environmentally sound practices at home that benefit family members, the community and the planet. Activities such as green gardening, composting, recycling and conserving energy can unite families in a common cause; instill a sense of global responsibility; serve as an example to friends, schoolmates and neighbors; and contribute to Earth’s health and longevity. While such grassroots efforts are highly effective, significant improvements to the global environment must extend beyond individual contributions. Our work environments, for example, often fall short of the eco-friendly improvements we make at home. If your business does not observe green practices, perhaps it’s up to you to recommend changes that will benefit not just the company and its employees, but also the planet we call home. Here are a few areas to consider in creating a greener office environment:
- Lights – A simple but effective way to conserve finances and energy at the office is to turn off lights when not in use. Some rooms remain empty for hours. If continually lit, energy and money are being wasted. Consider installing motion sensors in seldom-used rooms and spaces. In busy areas or in employee cubes, use energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs. Not only do they last 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs, they use 25% less energy. Also, whenever possible, turn off unneeded lights near windows and take advantage of the free natural sunlight and Vitamin D.
- Equipment – Similarly, office equipment such as computers, peripheral hardware and appliances should be turned off when not in use. Shutting down office equipment at the end of the day is cost effective and has no impact on equipment performance and longevity. During the workday, set your monitor—which consumes most of the unit’s energy—to automatically shut off when not in use. Also, you know that graphics-rich screensaver you like so much? It’s actually doing more harm than good, energy-wise. Finally, assign someone to make sure all the kitchen/break room appliances—such as coffee makers, hot plates, toaster ovens, etc.—are turned off at the end of day. Using a power strip will simplify this process.
- Water – Many offices provide individual bottles of water for their employees. Not only are they more expensive than tap water, the containers pose significant threats to our environment. While many people have come to believe that bottled water is purer, tastes better and is more convenient, research challenges such notions. Encourage your employer to install a tap water filtration system. It will save money and protect our environment, wildlife and oceans from the tragedy of plastic pollution.
- Paper – Recommend that your office move toward becoming a paperless environment. There are both ecological and economic benefits to reducing or eliminating a business’s dependency on paper, and technological advancements are making that shift easier. Scanners can convert a paper document to electronic form, making it easier to store and share. Cloud computing allows archival documents to be scanned and uploaded offsite, thus eliminating the need for space-eating file cabinets and the all-too-familiar hazard of lost or misfiled paper documents. Plus, you you’ll be free of all those paper copies now cluttering your file drawers, inbox, and bulletin boards.
While employees who band together in a common cause can bring about significant environment-friendly changes at the office, some improvements require the buy-in of upper management, financial officers and boards of directors. In Part 2 of this article, we will consider ways that your company can effect green modifications to the building itself.
Do you have examples of how you and your coworkers have initiating green practices where you work? Let us know and we’ll sing your praises here on the PGiGreen Blog.
Article originally published on PGiGreenBlog.
Photo courtesy of ClipartOf.
The content above was provided by PGi and is not subject to MNN Editorial Review. MNN is not responsible for the accuracy, objectivity or balance of this content.