How to Successfully Run an Environmentally Friendly Office

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According to CBS Money Watch, homes and businesses release more CO2 into the environment than cars do. What is the solution to reducing the ecological footprint we leave on the environment? Well, everyone needs to do their part. Homeowners need to build greener homes, students and consumers need to become energy and environmentally conscious, but business owners also need to pay attention to the environmental footprint they make at the workplace. Whether your office already has a green policy in place, or is still waiting for the ‘go ahead, ‘ you can make a few practical changes that will lay the foundation for a greener work environment. Much of the environmental drain in an office comes from the use of paper, data and equipment, so by reducing these needs substantially you can make your office procedures more environmentally sustainable.

1) Move towards Going Completely Paperless

Millions of trees are killed each year just so we can have everyday products like paper. Of course you can use recycled paper, but you can also work toward making the office completely paperless. By doing this, you’ll save space, manpower-hours and the trees used in producing paper products. Keep databases in the cloud for safe recovery should an emergency happen, but also for convenient employee access. Team members who save you money by telecommuting can easily access the information they need from the cloud. Forms and contracts can also be filed in cloud databases. So by allowing customers to sign and fill these out online, then filing them in your cloud database, you offer your customers convenience and peace of mind in knowing they are conducting business with an environmentally friendly company.

Additionally cloud server services can save on your energy consumption, as this allows you to disconnect servers, and still keep your data safe. Besides, cloud technology saves energy because servers are shared by more than one user. In other words, the energy you use to run one server for your business is used to run 2, 3, 4, 5, or as many businesses as the cloud server is capable of handling.

2) Reduce Electricity Consumption

You would be surprised at the number of un-conscientious business owners who simply leave the lights on in common areas and offices. Offering a gentle reminder to employees to turn lights off as they leave can substantially save on energy bills and reduce your environmental footprint in the office.

Another way to save on energy when it comes to lighting is to install LED lights where those old fluorescent light fixtures are located. In return you’ll get light that lasts 10 times longer than other types of light bulbs. These also offer significant energy savings when you analyze the annual operating cost, as these lights can cost about half of fluorescent lights and one tenth the cost of using traditional light bulbs. The only drawback you’ll find to these LED bulbs is the out-of-pocket initial expense, which is a little higher than that offered in fluorescent light bulbs. Still, they do last longer.

3) Energy Saving Devices

Be sure to equip your office with energy efficient printers and copiers. Specific printers are made to use less energy but also less ink. In fact, there are printers that use no ink, as in the new thermal printers that produce the printed image by heating coated thermal paper. However, if this isn’t the answer to your printing needs, there are color printers that use less toner and ink to produce the needed printed image. Additionally, these are made to use less energy.

4) Implement Green IT Practices

The IT management department is in charge of maintaining workstations and implementing IT regulations. Have them configure workstations so they use less power. Turning down screen brightness, putting office computers that are not in use to sleep and shutting down unused computers can go a long way toward decreasing office energy consumption. Additionally, you can implement energy management software that the IT administrators can centrally control. This allows them to set a work schedule for office computers.

5) Green up the Commute

Most Americans spend between 50 to 100 hours a year commuting to work, and in large metropolitan areas this could be even more. Ease some of this strain by offering bus commuting services to the workplace. Add Wi-Fi technology to the commuter bus and allow employees to work on their commute to make the ride even more productive. This could save as many as 3.7 billion hours and 23 billion gallons of gas from the accumulated car use of each employee.

Article by Tom P. Jones, an avid business blogger and green enthusiast who writes business advice blogs and outsourcing solution articles for Need More Time who specialize in outsourced phone answering service solutions for small and medium enterprises.

About Author

Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.

3 Comments

  1. Yearly, we have a program under ISO wherein we are task to improve efficiency in our electricty, water and waste in the office as well as the production. I want to share some of the program from years ago that saves our company expenses. At the production, since we operate only during the day, we change the electric lighting with sky tunnel skylights. We installed wind vent and solar attic fan for ventilation which neutralizes temperature in the production area. During break, we close our monitors and air conditoners. We plug off all electric equipment when we leave the company. There are stickers to remind us to turn off the lights and close the faucet when not in use, and more. We also segregate our waste and recycle. We list the consumption, and at the end of the year, evaluate the changes and suggest improvements.

  2. I would like to add a couple of more items here. First, request employees to leave on time so that you can switch off AC and lights to reduce energy consumption. Secondly, employees who use desktop PC should shut the PC down while leaving in the evening as they do consume power when put on power saving mode.

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