Amid growing concern for our environment, several businesses have been thinking of turning green. One of the major concerns of employers is the costs this change will incur (a very common misconception). However, being green need not involve an expensive and major redesign of your entire office. There are several inexpensive ways to start making a difference to the world and the environment while actually reducing some costs too.
Reduce and Recycle Paper.
Reduce your paper usage by emailing rather then printing documents. When you do need to print or photocopy set your equipment to use both sides of the paper. This should cut your paper costs by at least half. You can also switch to using eco-friendly paper within the office and try to recycle it further by using old unless documents as rough paper.
Green Employee of the Month.
This scheme usually works very well in growing companies. Every month a person gets nominated for being the greenest in the office and a picture of the person is attached on the employee notice board. While serving as an incentive to those who are already being green, it acts as a reminder for those who are not!
If you aren’t doing it already, try setting up separate waste bins for the different materials and label clearly. This will inspire your colleagues not only to separate their waste at work but possibly stick to the habit even at home.
Watch your lighting.
While everyone is all too eager to turn off the lights in their own home, offices tend to be neglected since everyone seems to assume it isn’t their responsibility to turn off the lighting. Replace the light bulbs in your office with green energy efficient ones like Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL) that are four times more efficient then a normal incandescent light bulb.
When buying new office equipment like printers, photocopiers, fridges, bathrooms etc try looking out for energy efficient ones. Printers can have an economy or draft mode, fridges can be A+ class, while toilets can have a dual flush system. Even smaller kitchen appliances like kettles and microwaves can be chosen greener.
Make employees simply leave the office without turning off their computers. A typical desktop uses roughly 70-255 watts and it makes no difference if it is in use or in standby. Multiply that by the number of hours and the number of computers in the office and it will add up really fast. Ideally, you can email colleagues reminding them to turn off their computer at the end of the day or else make someone in the office responsible for checking the lights and computers before leaving.
Unless being green is a habit, people tend to forget about it. Think of sticking up a few cheerful posters and signs around the office that will serve as a constant reminder. Even a simple “Don’t waste water” sign near the kitchen sink will help remind a few people to reduce their waste.
Green attitudes in an office have to start at the top. The management is usually the catalyst in motivating eco-friendly innovations. Incorporating green trends in your own lifestyle is likely to inspire not only your employees but also the people around you.
About the Author:
CGB – is a serial entrepreneur and consultant with over 14 years experience building Internet and digital media businesses. JD is a Certified Green Broker® and specializes in commercial building sustainability and finance with Greenergy2030.com. A vocal advocate for environmental issues, JD writes and lectures frequently on the subject and is committed to helping entrepreneurs realize the positive goals their organizations can achieve through sustainable business practices.