Believe it or not, placing a few optional recycling bins around the office and calling it a day does not exactly make your office eco-friendly. If you really want to institute some changes within your business that will help you to shine up your brand image while doing something good for the community that supports you (not to mention the planet that supports all living organisms), you need to start seeking out ways to make your operations more sustainable while cutting back on waste and pollution. And here are a few of the best (and easiest) ways to make that happen. By the way, many are also cost-effective.
- Perform a waste assessment. These audits are generally done to find areas in which your company is wasting time and money. But they can easily be skewed to show how your wasteful habits are affecting the environment, as well. For example, you could undergo an energy audit to see how much of the bought air is leaking to the outside world through cracks, seams, portals, and ventilation. And where you find other types of waste occurring you’ll likely uncover environmental issues, as well. So this is like a twofer of savings for your company.
- Let the sunshine in. If you’ve got the windows, why are you wasting money and energy to keep the office artificially illuminated? Although some offices really don’t have windows or there are simply too many walls in the way (in which case energy-saving CFLs or LEDs are a good alternative), others are a sea of cubicles awash in the natural light of day that streams into what is essentially an open floor plan. So if you have access to enough natural light, leave the overhead fluorescents off (their flicker competes with computer monitors anyway, causing headaches) and let any employees that need extra visibility turn to their LED desk lamps.
- Conserve water. Although office buildings may not be the worst offenders when it comes to water consumption, there are certainly steps you can take to conserve this precious commodity. First, you can replace toilets and faucets in your restroom facilities with low-flow, aerated, and motion sensor options. And when it comes to keeping your landscape looking fresh, opt for drought-resistant grasses and plants and use a gray-water system to keep them hydrated.
- Go paperless. Holy cow, do offices go through a lot of paper products! If you absolutely must use hard copies, at least purchase 100% PCW paper. And keep files and presentations electronic whenever possible. Don’t forget that you can also green up other paper products (like the coffee cups and napkins in the break room, for example).
- Clean up your supply chain. You set deadlines for business tasks all the time (and hit precise deadlines thanks to http://countdown.onlineclock.net/ ). So why not pledge to switch to eco-friendly vendors by the end of this year and get the clock started on truly putting your money where your mouth is? As a business, you can do a lot internally to cut your carbon footprint. But supporting other green businesses takes the whole movement to the next level and ensures that you’re on the same sustainable level as the professionals you partner with.