Creating a Greener Office

The 3 R’s – Recycle, Reuse and Reduce
Everything has a beginning and the simplest beginning to creating a greener office is to follow the 3 R’s. Some of the things that you can do is; Recycle toner cartridges and paper. (Shreadded paper can be recycled too).

Use mugs and cups that display your logo and other company information. Replace disposable items with items that can be reused. By adding the company logo on them is a creative use of the advertising dollar.

Along with the invention of computers it was going to help create a paperless society. Instead we seem to be using more paper. Try to print only those documents that are required and when possible use recycled paper.

If you don’t think an item can be recycled or reused check. You may be surprised.

Do an Energy Audit
Having an energy audit performed is a way to find some quick and inexpensive ways to conserve energy. One quick way is to walk through the office either a few hours before work begins or after the work day ends. Look for items that are on that could be turned off such as computers, lights or copiers.

It’s a misconception that equipment last longer if they are not turned off.

A screen saver doesn’t save energy. It can at times use more.

Is the office temperature comfortable during these off hours walks? If they are thermostat temperatures need to be adjusted.

Even during the day look for lights that are on all day in rooms that are seldom used. These rooms may be a candidate for installation of room sensors light timers

Keep the Office Comfortable
While we are thinking about the temperature in the office, How does it feel? Is it hot in one place , but cold in another? This may be a problem with the HVAC system or possibly as simple as a blocked thermostat.

Recommended office temperature for winter months is 68-72 degrees and for the summer is 74 to 80.

How hot is the hot water? A hot water heater in the office environment only needs to have its water temperature at around 120 degrees, but many of them are set for 140 or hotter!

Schedule Trips Wisely
Running back and forth from one end of town to another not only is a waste of time, but also a waste of energy. Try to schedule appointments with clients in the same vicinity on the same day.

Need to make a trip to the Office Supply house? See if a nearby client would like you to drop by.

Or schedule those out of the office trips to correspond with the commute to or from work.

Use Nature
Use natural light instead of overhead lights. Opening the blinds can also help to heat in the winter, but you’ll want to close them to the sun in the summer.

Adding a plant into the office area not only makes it a more pleasing place, it also helps to filter out carbon dioxide and increase oxygen.

Take a System Approach
The best way to have a green office and to maintain it is to take it across the entire system. All employees from the owner to the part-time delivery person needs to work together. Like a chain, keeping a green office is only as strong as the weakest link.

© 2008 Steven G. Atkinson – All Rights Reserved

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