Five easy steps for creating a green office

In an era of ever-increasing concerns over the climate change, not to mention the constant threat of load shedding, forward-thinking companies are seeking solutions to save electricity, minimise their carbon footprint, and increase their bottom-line while they’re at it! Consider the following five easy steps for turning your office into a green workplace.


1. Create a battalion of environmental warriors


Start by asking for volunteers to form a team that can help implement your upcoming green policies. Employees have been shown to be more likely to participate in new initiatives if they are stakeholders in the outcome. You could offer incentives for participation, such as a small percentage of the saved energy costs resulting from your new eco-friendly approach, or you could treat the team to a local, organic lunch.


2. Let there be light


Open the blinds! Natural daylight not only saves electricity, but also improves the mental and physical state of your employees (so less sick days). Where artificial light
is the only option, switch to compact fluorescent bulbs (which use 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs and last 10 times as long). You can also invest in LED desk
lamps, which use even less power than compact fluorescent lights.


3. Standby power – banish the phantom menace

Phantom power (standby power) consumes a huge amount of electricity. The key way to defeat this culprit in surging energy usage and costs is to ensure that unnecessary or unused devices are both switched off, and unplugged.

Even a computer that has been switched off continues to consume energy, so encourage employees to not only power down, but also unplug at the end of their work days.

To make this process easier, plug all devices into a power strip with an on-off switch, or invest in smart strips which cut off extra power when they sense the device is shut down.

There are also programs, like Surveyor, which automatically power down company computers at night. This not only saves on electricity, but can also help your hardware – the old myth of damaging computers by switching them on and off is just that: a myth.


4. Save paper – go out-of-print


Moving towards a paperless office not only saves the trees, but saves on printing costs. Digitize your office by eliminating all unnecessary printing.

Send emails of meeting agendas and minutes rather than printing them out; use instant messaging for memos; send e-statements wherever possible; save your files to the cloud or an external hard-drive… and save the wasted space where your bulky file cabinets once stood.

Where printing is essential, you can also choose some greener options: use refillable ink cartridges; buy recycled paper; set your default printer settings to double-sided, and print in draft mode wherever possible.


5. Breathe green air


Literally make your workplace a green office.

Indoor plants not only absorb airborne pollutants, emit healthy negative ions and increase oxygen, but they contribute to the physical and psychological health of your employees, making them happier, healthier and more productive.

By planting trees in the space outside of your building, you can also cut cooling costs as the temperature drops between 3 to 6 degrees.

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