In many cities, taking advantage of steals on older office spaces can be a great way to save money. Unfortunately, those offices aren't always as environmentally efficient as newer ones. However, there are some small changes you can make that will make the office more earth friendly without maxing out the budget. Going green in your office can do more than just create a healthier environment, it can also create a healthier bottom line. Save some green by being green with these tricks and tips.
These days, most major cities offer recycling programs including commercial programs. If your office doesn't have a recycling program, check with the landlord and/or the city to start one. If you do have a recycling program, make sure that bins are visible and prominent. Encourage employees to dispose of recyclables in the proper receptacles. You can also check on recycling programs for items that are harder to dispose of like electronics, light bulbs and toner.
With email, smart phones, laptops, tablets and other technology, it would seem feasible that employees aren't using as much paper, but people somehow manage to waste a lot of it. If your office doesn't have a printing policy, start one. Make sure that people are only printing when necessary, and set the copier to default to duplex mode so everyone will automatically print on both sides of the paper.
Switch Cleaning Supplies
If your company is responsible for purchasing cleaning supplies, choose the earth-friendly ones. These days, there are several brands of gentle products with fewer chemicals that do a comparable job to traditional ones. Cutting back on harsh chemicals is not only good for the external environment, it's also good for the internal domain. Employees with sensitivities and allergies will breathe easier.
Repaint your office with low VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint. You'll refresh the place and help clean the air for employees. Low VOC paint contains fewer harmful chemicals — ones that have been shown to contribute to various health problems. Painting with low VOC paint will help your employees stay healthy.
Turn Down the Heat
If your office has programmable thermostats, program them to be cooler at night when no one is in the office. Doing so saves money on your energy bill, and it's a lot more eco-friendly than keeping the place at a constant temperature. Also, encourage employees to crack windows in mild temperatures rather than turn on the air conditioning.
Give the Floor a Makeover
For a greener office, switch to eco-friendly carpeting. Choose a style that is made up of at least some post-consumer recycled materials. Also, install the carpet in small squares rather than carpeting a whole room at once. This way, when the carpet becomes worn, you won't have to replace the whole thing, just a small section.
Consider Alternative Transit Programs
If you have several employees who live near each other, offer an incentive to those who carpool, bike, walk or take public transit to work. Doing so will keep more cars off the road, contributing to cleaner air and healthier employees.
Reduce Energy Usage
Take advantage of energy saving features on electronics such as the hibernate feature on your computer. Make sure that all computers are set to hibernate after being idle for longer periods of time, and encourage employees to shut them down at night. If there is ample natural light in the office, take advantage and turn out the lights.
Buy Recycled Supplies
In addition to recycling, choose products that are made from recycled materials. Products like paper, waste bins and even furniture made of recycled materials are readily available. Save an item from going to a landfill and put it in your office.
Alaina Brandenburger is a freelance writer living in Denver. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.
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