You practice an environmentally friendly lifestyle at home by turning off the lights when you leave the room, recycling and using natural lighting as much as possible. One day, you look around your office and realize your efforts at home mean very little if your office and thousands like it don’t implement the same green practices. Before standing on a soapbox and preaching green to your co-workers, do your homework. Choose a few areas in which your office would benefit by going green then pitch your ideas and plans to management. With assistance from your co-workers, your workplace can be as green as your home.
Creating your Pitch
Your company’s first priority is making a profit, so appeal to this need. Remind management that companies that meet LEED standards potentially earn greater financial yields and reputation points in the community. Second, cost-effective employee retention increases in companies that implement green initiatives. Likewise, green practices in the office put green in the bank. After the initial investment, environmentally friendly practices save a company money every day. As you outline these economic potentials to management, be prepared with a detailed plan that enables the decision makers in your office to start going green immediately.
Up to 40 percent of your office’s electricity consumption comes from using artificial lighting. As an alternative, open the blinds for natural light and paint the walls light colors with high gloss sheens. When artificial lighting is necessary, install motion sensors and automatic shut offs. Speak with your maintenance department to explore better lighting alternatives such as track lighting, which offers many advantages such as the ability to control lights individually or all together, endless standardized fixtures, and green options (e.g. compact fluorescent lightbulbs). These simple changes limit waste and ultimately lower utility bills.
From buying secondhand furniture to recycling outdated equipment, your office can increase efficiency and limit waste. Start with multipurpose machines that scan, fax and print. These machines allow you to work smarter, and they reduce clutter in your office, especially if the entire office shares one or two machines. After convincing management to buy multipurpose machines, make sure everyone knows how to use them efficiently, and maintain them according to the instruction manual in order to protect the investment.
Additionally, implement green printing techniques. Set the printer’s default to print on both sides of recycled paper. Buy remanufactured ink and toner cartridges. Use smaller font when printing documents, and update employee manuals digitally. Stock paper recycling bins throughout every department, and assign an office manager to maintain the bins. To get everyone on board, create a goal for waste reduction, chart progress and offer a catered lunch or other incentive when the goal is met. With everyone of board, your office reduces waste and increases efficiency.
Standby power keeps your machines ready for nearly instant use, but this practice wastes energy. Instead, turn off computers and machines every night. Use an automated program like Surveyor to complete this green idea. Additionally, eliminate screen savers. Program the monitors to power off when idle. Your office IT manager can complete these procedures for big savings.
Not only can these green office practices protect the environment, but they also affect future generations. As your co-workers start implementing changes in the office, they make changes at home. The snowball effect starts with you. As you share your ideas with office management, look for additional ways to motivate change. Use mugs instead of disposable cups, set a plant on your desk and walk to work. A green office can become reality when you make positive changes that mirror your green efforts at home and motivate your co-workers to go green.