Sustain | Offset | Recycle | Renew
Greening your workplace takes staff and organizational commitment. Some things are common sense, such as avoiding wasting resources. Others that cultural, physical plant or business process changes that may have a longer implementation timeline.
If you have been waiting for the right time to start, begin today.
Enlist colleagues to create a list of goals for your office.
- Encourage the use of travel avoidance technology such as webinars, online Go To Meeting or streaming video meetings with interoffice participants.
- Try to reduce the number of travel trips per year, whether by car or plane.
- Purchase carbon offset credits for each flight and hotel stay.
- Consider longer hours per day and fewer days in the office each week to reduce commuting.
- Evaluate whether you could work from home occasionally or regularly.
- Ask a trade association in your industry about a Best Green Practices white paper they may have developed.
- Turn off the lights when you leave a room for more than 5 minutes.
- Install motion sensor lights.
- Ask your IT systems administrator if your monitor or printer can be set to go to sleep on nights and weekends.
- Separate your trash at your desk according to the local protocol. Some cities can not accept paper with glue such as sticky notes or envelopes.
- Print as little as possible. Save things electronically.
- Use the back sides of printed and unwanted paper for scratch paper.
- Segregate batteries and fluorescent light bulbs as heavy metal trash and dispose of the same as electronic equipment waste.
- Combine errands and materials orders to reduce the vehicle miles driven to service your office.
- Adjust the air conditioning to a little warmer and the heating to a little cooler.
- Evaluate if the landscaping is appropriate for your climate’s natural rainfall versus needing irrigation or excessive maintenance.
- Watch water flow across your hard and softscape. Can bioswales be created that divert and retain rainwater preventing urban run off?
- Do you have a Green Suggestion box and an “everything will be considered” attitude?
- When planning new office space seek out older buildings that can be re-purposed.
- When building a new structure, commit to seek LEED certification at the highest level achievable within your climate, building purpose and budget.
- Choose office furnishings that are made of low or no VOC (volatile organic compounds) emitting substances. Eliminate any product made with paints, resins or glues that include formaldehyde.
- Consider office desks made of solid wood, glass, wheat board, soy-based glues and low VOC finishes and carpets with high recycled plastic fiber content, wool or cotton.
- Seek to introduce natural light as a way to reduce conventional lighting costs and enhance employee satisfaction and performance.
- Embrace sustainability as an organizational philosophy and commit the financial and human resources necessary to launch change initiatives and achieve goals.
- Encourage employees to bike, walk or car pool to work.
- Facilitate bikers by making secure available bike racks and changing rooms with showers at the office.
- Print or use both sides of a piece of paper before you throw it away.
- Only buy 100% recycled content paper.
- If you have a kitchen, provide reusable plates and utensils and a dish washer.
- Compost kitchen food scraps.
- Recycle used ink jet and laser cartridges.
- Recycle, auction or giveaway working electronic equipment that your office might otherwise dispose of as waste.
- Make it a practice to work electronically, such as by using the track changes and “red pen” feature of word processing programs.
- Reduce the amount of junk print mail at your office. Go to http://reducewaste.org/junkmailkit for information on how to get your name off of mailing lists.
- Close the window coverings at night to keep in heat in the cool season. Close window coverings whenever direct sun hits the windows to reduce the heat load inside.
- Use programmable thermostats to greatly reduce the heat or air conditioning nights and weekends when the office is not occupied.
- Only purchase Entergy Star rated electronics or appliances.
- Wrap the office water heater in an insulation jacket.
- If your office has a number of ceiling fixtures ganged together on one switch, consider if you could remove bulbs in some of the fixtures.
- Have the furnace serviced every other year and annually change the filters.
- Remove any obstructions in front of HVAC vents or air intakes.