< BACK: Green workplace decor tips

Now that you've got the office in order, here are five principles that you can apply (and share) to create an eco-friendly workplace.

1) Clear the air. Remember that buildings are like people: It's what's on the inside that counts, and in this case, that means employees. Keep your workforce at its peak health and productivity by investing in low-emissions furniture and equipment.

2) Waste not. Just because something is old doesn't mean it's trash. Hold onto those squeaky chairs and dented file cabinets and get an estimate for refurbishing costs before buying anything new. A little (formaldehyde-free) upholstery and paint can give your old furniture the face-lift it needs to stay attractive and functional.

3) Don't skimp on research. Before buying any interior furnishings, electronics or equipment, ask a lot of questions about production practices and VOC use so you know you're getting a green makeover, not a greenwash.

4) Give yourself a tax cut. Many states have introduced tax credits to promote environmentally friendly building practices. Take advantage of this and make your green office upgrade cheaper than any other kind.

5) Remember, intangibles can have tangible results. Even if you're unconvinced about LEED certification or the danger of VOCs, keep in mind that greener offices — with benefits such as natural lighting, clean air and creative designs — also improve human factors like mood and productivity. Who doesn't want happier, more productive employees?

How do you do it?

Have you minimized water use by placing containers full of stones into the toilet tank of your small business? Perhaps you've realized your dream office through refurbished furniture. Share your ideas with the rest of Mother Nature Network's community.

Bonus tip: Top 15 houseplants for improving indoor air quality