The environmental footprint left by businesses is large. Office buildings use up more than 40 percent of our total energy in the United States, as well as 70 percent of the electricity. That doesn’t even take into account the waste going on inside. But many businesses are taking more responsibility for their impact on the environment both inside and out.
An eco-friendly business can do more than just help the environment. Green businesses attract more investors, eco-conscious customers, and more employees. When creating a green plan for your business, couple changes to your business practices with the redesign of the building to achieve the best results.
The Eco-Friendly Office
Some steps to go green inside the office are low-cost and easy but can make a big impact. Replace styrofoam cups with reusable cups, use eco-friendly coffee, and place recycling bins around the office. However, there are bigger steps you can take to make your office greener.
- Green purchasing practices – When making purchases, consider the impact by buying recycled paper and combining shipping to reduce packaging. Consider buying gently-used office furniture and other eco-friendly office supplies.
- Go paperless – Reduce the amount of paper your office uses as much as possible by emailing, calling on the phone, and video conferencing. Utilize online presentations to avoid printing out packets and colored print-outs. Change marketing to online rather than mass mailings. Recycle paper as much as possible.
- Greener office machinery – Purchase combination office printer/fax/scanners to decrease energy use. Recycle old office machines to keep them out of the landfills. Only purchase Energy Star office equipment to be certain they are efficient.
- Choose eco-friendly professionals – From the redesign stages to the construction, hire professionals who are dedicated to being eco-friendly. They are dedicated to creating and building structures that are safe, comfortable, and productive. Select a professional who takes into account such factors as location, waste, material use, and local availability.
- Select which changes to make – Some elements that help the environment include installing smart climate controls, energy-efficient windows and shades, and smart lighting systems. Smart plugs and timers have high benefits. For more ambitious projects you may want to consider replacing your roof with a green roof.
- Reduce construction waste – Reduce the amount of waste going into construction dumpsters by planning ahead to reuse the materials created from demolition. Recycling materials reduces the cost and allows for a smaller dumpster to be used. For dumpster resources, click here.
- Choose eco-friendly materials – Take a look at the materials you are using in the construction. Avoid using products from the “Red List.” Be aware of not just using renewable resources, but also toxins and chemicals.
Greener Building Design
Remodel your office to incorporate sustained green benefits. The higher cost of making the change to an eco-friendly office can pay off in the long run for both your business as well as the planet: