With climate change threatening our air, water and land, greening our homes and offices is becoming more and more urgent. A great way to go greener at work is to form a committee to brainstorm, suggest and implement effective, economical green strategies to decrease your organization’s environmental impact. Below are some relevant strategies to get you started.
Water: Install aerators on office sinks (a one-time cost) to reduce the volume of water used. If possible, install water filters, rather than relying on bottled water, and of course, consider low-flow toilets.
Lighting: Use energy-saving LED and CFL bulbs that quickly pay for themselves. Remind employees to turn off lights when not in use. Whenever possible, use sunlight to light rooms by opening curtains and blinds. Have the maintenance staff shut-off all unneeded lighting and other electronics during the holidays.
Paper: Default all printers to double-sided printing. Chose 30 percent post-consumer recycled paper. Scan paper documents into databases to save storage space and increase document accessibility. Encourage everyone to bring their own coffee mugs and reusable water bottles to work to cut down on the use of paper cups.
Power: Have everyone turn down the brightness settings on their monitors, disable their screensavers, allow monitors to time-out and close rarely-used programs and apps. Shut off electronics at the end of the day. Have the maintenance staff close doors and windows in air-conditioned rooms and keep all equipment in good working order.
Recycling: Some paper use is inevitable, so set up paper recycling bins next to every cube, office, photocopier and printer in your workplace. Recycle used printer and toner cartridges, as well as aluminum cans and the—sadly inevitable—plastic water bottles.
Teleconference: With travel becoming increasingly expensive, it’s wise to use teleconferencing for as many meetings as possible.
Indoor air pollution: Many office cleaning supplies contain strong toxins. Replace them with non-toxic counterparts. Fax machines, copiers, and printers emit pollutants and odors, so position them away from workspaces, and always consider air quality when purchasing new equipment.