Going green at the office can be very effective in demonstrating practical benefits of being environmentally friendly. Businesses spend thousands of dollars per year on such things as coffee cups, paper and other common office supplies. These items add up to huge costs to both the business and the environment. This article will discuss five ways to make your office environmentally friendly. These ways not only help the environment; they also save the business money.
Electricity is one of the most wasted resources. Computers, lights, printers and even small appliances, like coffee makers, guzzle electricity. Cutting back on the amount of power used is simple. For instance, turning off the lights after everyone leaves a room helps conserve the total amount of electricity the building uses. Leaving items like air conditioning, fans and other devices running wastes an enormous amount of energy.
At the end of the day, turn all computers and printers off. This will conserve approximately 50% of the electricity used during one year. Leaving them off until they are needed saves even more energy. When they are on, make sure that the computer monitors are set to the proper settings. For example, set all monitors to shut off after 15 minutes of inactivity.
Cutting Back on Paper Waste
The average office consumes two pounds of paper products on a daily basis. This adds up to over 4,000,000 tons of paper annually in the United States. Reducing the amount of paper used helps preserve trees, cut costs and eliminate waste. An easy way to start is to use both sides of a single piece of paper. When printing a document, this automatically eliminates half the paper that would be used otherwise.
Paper usage can be reduced in other ways. Many offices use paper cups for water and coffee. Instead, get everyone to bring their own mug or cup to work. Only print emails, reports and other documents when absolutely necessary. Read them on your computer monitor as much as possible. When purchasing paper, make sure it is recycled paper and buy it in bulk to save packaging costs and wastes.
Using Non-Toxic Cleaning Products
Cleaning an office building requires over six billion pounds of chemicals each year. The average janitor uses 23 gallons of chemicals per year, 25% of which are considered toxic. A significant percentage of janitorial staff suffer an injury related to an exposure to toxic chemicals. These chemicals also contribute to poor indoor air quality.
If your company contracts with an outside cleaning business, ask them to use non-toxic products like Biokleen, Nature Clean and Ecover. If they will not switch, hire another company that uses the products you want. Making the switch is not only better for the environment, but also better for individual workers. Cleaner indoor air results in greater productivity because workers don’t have to spend time dealing with symptoms like headaches and nausea.
Greening Your Transportation
Workers in the United States spend an average of 47 hours commuting through heavy traffic. This translates to 23 billion gallons of gasoline used every year just for commuting. Not only is it wasteful, but it is irritating and frustrating as well. You can cut back on or eliminate driving to work by taking public transportation such as a bus, riding a bike or even walking. Recently, folding electric bikes have become popular. This is also a viable option especially in urban areas.
The Internet has revolutionised working from home. Instant messaging, online video conferencing, email and online classes have made telecommuting more viable than ever before. Over 40,000,000 Americans use telecommuting. As an extra bonus, working from home allows you to consolidate your workweek. For instance, consider using four 10-hour days instead of five 8-hour days. This saves time and gives you a three-day weekend.
Keeping your office green helps the environment, reduces costs and makes your workers happier and healthier. This means greater productivity and, hopefully, greater profits. Going green actually helps to make money, not just to save money.