Embracing a workplace filled with natural light. Paperless meetings. Using sustainable materials. These are a few ways to turn your organization into a green office, but such small changes can greatly impact the environment.
This blog will look at eight simple yet logical office ideas that will make a big difference over time.
What Is The Green Office Concept?
According to the US Environmental Agency, a green office is an ecologically responsible structure. And most importantly, it is resource-efficient. Green workplaces use recycled materials frequently and are built to be energy efficient. It aims to promote a healthy environment while conserving energy and lowering pollution levels.
The concept of green office buildings gained traction during the environmental movement in the 1960s. But it was when the oil price rose in the 1970s, the demand for green office buildings grew rapidly. And in turn, the construction of more energy-efficient office buildings started.
How Has The University Of Houston’s "Green Office Certification Process" Changed The Way Businesses Approach Conservation?
University of Houstons's Green Office Program, presented by the Sustainability Office, strives to encourage offices across campus to be advocates of their university's sustainability ethic. Their Green Office Program is a structure and collection of materials that have the potential to reduce the environmental footprint of their university community.
The program triggers participation by a point-based self-assessment checklist, allowing offices to review their current practices. It enables them to set goals and be acknowledged for their long-term sustainability.
Points are automatically calculated when participants create their full checklist. Once done, the Office of Sustainability provides the Green Office certification. It comes with a plaque and media exposure to the offices that gain points beyond a certain limit.
To achieve this certification, the Green Office Program is divided into the following seven categories of sustainability.
- Indoor Air Quality and Human Health
Based On The Above Categories, Here Are Eight Ideas For Your Green Office:
1. Reduce printing and paper wastage at the office
Every year, the average office worker uses over 10,000 sheets of copy paper. And they generate about two pounds of paper and paperboard products!
Paper waste is a major problem in the business world. In fact, paper accounts for most of the non-recyclable trash generated by offices.
To address this issue, We need to change how we dispose of papers and minimize their usage. Or, better yet, learn to go paperless for its significant impact on the environment. If not, another easy option is to print less.
But, even if your office is paperless, there will always be paper goods that need to be disposed of properly. We suggest considering options such as installing waste paper recycling bins. Offer a monthly reward to employees who make the most recycling effort.
2. Go digital
If you think carefully, is it required for each employee to receive a copy of the meeting agenda? Instead of distributing and updating print copies of employee handbooks, why not make a slide show and send it over email?
With the growing availability of digital storage devices, moving digital has become easier.
3. Adopt a casual dress code
Not every sector allows it but set a casual dress policy in your office if you can. Formal attires like suits need a lot of dry cleaning, which is bad for the environment and detrimental to your health and wallet.
4. Integrate solar panel systems
It's no wonder that solar power systems play a big role in developing green offices. Its primary focus is on sustainability and green energy. Solar power has multi-purpose use. Such as pre-heating ventilation air, water heating, solar cooling, lighting, and electricity.
Infact, solar panels are quickly becoming a popular alternative energy source in the United States. Fortune 500 firms like Walmart and Intel are switching to solar energy for many of their facilities.
However, if you have a small or medium-sized business, you might doubt the related expenses.
But here's the fact. A solar energy system costs around 100 times less today than it did in the 1970s, and the trend of falling costs shows no signs of slowing down. One primary reason for it is simply that the cost of solar panels is showing a massive decline.
5. Get more natural lighting
Natural lighting in the workplace has numerous advantages for both employees and businesses. A lack of natural light in the workplace can create a negative and depressing vibe. When employees are exposed to more natural light, they are significantly happier. It aids in better sleep regulation, which positively impacts the quality and quantity of work produced.
6. Buy energy-friendly office equipment
Today, businesses use different gadgets and equipment. It starts from computers to scanners to smartphone chargers. As a result, their electric expenditures are rising every day. Thus, finding energy-efficient equipment can be a massive step toward lowering energy costs.
There are various cost-effective solutions for businesses to reduce energy consumption, like-
Switch to laptops instead of desktop computers because they use up to 80% less energy. It results in significant energy savings.
Most equipment now has "power save" or "sleep" mode settings. It turns them into an energy-saving mode after a specified period of inactivity.
Don't forget to turn off all your equipment at the end of the day. Consider acquiring power strips and connecting them to clusters of electronics that you can turn off all at once.
Buy Energy Star-certified and smaller refrigerators, air conditioners, printers, and other appliances.
You can also use plug-in timers on water coolers and coffee machines.
7. Go green. Literally.
Adding a plant to your workstation improves air quality, increases attention span, improves employee creativity, lowers stress, and stabilizes mood. You can also add a touch of feng shui to your plant decor.
Read our blog on: Impact Of Workplace Design On Employee Engagement
People sometimes argue about whether plants require natural sunshine and whether fluorescent lighting in offices will allow them to grow. However, certain house plants can grow in fluorescent light and thrive like any other plant.
And in case you don't have a green thumb, bring in some fresh flowers for your desk. You can also get some natural photos and images or simple stuff like a nice rock paperweight. Viewing nature photographs or connecting with nature will improve your cognitive powers. It helps you stay relaxed and focused and raise your morale.
And when it comes to odors, less is more. Coworkers may be sensitive to clouds of perfume or strongly scented potpourri, candles, and sprays. Peppermint, citrus, and essential pine oils and smells help enhance your energy, productivity, and attitude. You can also use sustainable cleaning products to get rid of the bad odors in the workplace.
8. Reuse and recycle general office supplies
Binders, file folders, paper clips, pens and pencils, rubber bands, and interoffice mail folders are all items that you can reuse.
You can also recycle shipping goods such as boxes and shred old paper and reuse it as packing material.
Instead of constantly purchasing and using disposable cups and paper plates, ask employees to contribute their old dishes, coffee mugs, silverware, and glasses to the office kitchen.
Rather than buying coffee, creamer, and sugar in individual sachets, buy them in bulk and keep them in large containers.
With global warming and climate change causing havoc worldwide, individuals could lend a hand by being ecologically conscious at work and home. We can do all of it by making some basic lifestyle modifications. All we require is a desire to do something positive for the world that has provided us with beauty, art, and spirituality.