Tips to green your office

It’s a question that follows us everywhere we go, and a topic we never get tired of talking about. Using most commercial products to clean your office may expose your employees to dangerous chemicals. Some ingredients in these products, including bleach, formaldehyde and phosphates, are also harmful to wildlife and the environment. Keep your office clean and your working environment healthy by using non-toxic cleaning products whenever possible. But don’t just stop there. There are plenty of ways in which you can ‘green’ your office and help save our natural resources at the same time.

1. Check Out Soy-Based Ink
Ink made from soybeans is not only better for the environment but better for your company’s bottom line, as well.

2. Cut Down on Office Transportation
Carpools and public transportation benefit both the environment and your employees. At GBS we encourage biking and walking to work. Driving 10 percent less, by walking, cycling, carpooling, or taking public transit, can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 0.2 to 0.8 tonnes per year, depending on the vehicle. Carbon dioxide is the number one contributor to the greenhouse effect, and cars produce about 30 percent of the nation’s carbon dioxide emissions.

3. Monitoring Lighting Usage
We obviously can’t work without lighting, but we can do our best to cut down on unnecessary use of lighting.

4. Make the Most of Office Equipment
According to the Department of Energy, office equipment accounts for 16 percent of an office’s energy use. The use of computers, printers, copiers and fax machines adds up, but simply turning your computer’s sleep mode on when you’re not using it can save energy (screen savers are energy wasters, not savers).

5. Monitor Paper Usage
There are several ways to cut down on how much paper you use, including:

  • Make hard copies only when necessary.
  • View documents on your computer instead of printing them out.
  • Use a stick-on label on the first page of a fax instead of a full cover sheet.
  • Reuse paper that only has printed material on one side.
  • Make sure all printers and copiers are set up to print on both sides of paper.

6. Keep Your Cool . . . and Warmth
Heating, cooling and ventilation accounts for 39 percent of the energy use in a typical office. An adjustment of only a degree or two can cut heating or cooling bills by two to three percent. Extending that to three or four degrees can produce savings of 10 percent or more.

7. Put Someone in Charge
Designate an energy manager and rotate the responsibility occasionally. This person’s job is to keep track of office recycling and energy use. Sometimes a friendly competition is all that it takes to promote real change within the office.