Many people want their business to be green, sustainable, and align with their values. The challenge is that many business owners are unsure of how to do that, or where to start. Fortunately there are many green initiatives that you can adopt in the office that will make a difference. To help jump-start your sustainability efforts, take a look at these simple tips to create a greener workplace and save money in the process!
Reduce paper waste by keeping things digital and go paperless whenever possible. Keep digital files on your computers and mobile devices, not in filing cabinets. Also, get in the habit of reviewing digital documents on-screen, rather than printing them out. When it is necessary to print, make sure that your printers are set to print on both sides of paper. You’ll automatically cut your paper costs by 50%, so you’ll save money as well as resources.
One thing that not many offices handle well is recycling and waste management. Many businesses use the standard recycling bins that we are all familiar with, but they can be problematic it’s harder to regulate a system using them. Not many people have the time of day to properly sort out the recycling, so bins are left to overflow, and materials get mixed up. The best way to handle this is to invest in better recycling equipment, such as balers or shredders. Cardboard, paper and electronics is the biggest waste stream for the majority of businesses, so finding a way to manage your recycling is a great way to become more sustainable.
Make the most of natural light
Relying more on natural light when possible means you’ll have less need to turn office lights on. This is better for the environment and will also save your business money on energy costs. The World Green Building Council reports also found that employees working near sunlit windows have a 15% higher production rate. If possible, move workstations and desks near to walls with windows, so that employees can enjoy as much natural sunlight as possible while they’re working. You should also considering replacing all fluorescent lights with energy efficient lights, especially LEDs. These use far less energy and generally need replacing less often, which means you can lower your carbon emissions while reducing your energy costs.
Unplug everything at night
All your office equipment – including computers, printers, monitors, and microwaves – still use power when not in use. Standby power can become a huge, unnecessary expense for your business if left unaddressed. It’s therefore important to switch off and unplug all electrical devices overnight and when they’re not being used. You should also check that all computers are set to their most energy efficient settings, for example – monitor set to shut off after 15 minutes of no use. This will help to minimise electricity consumption and save money on energy costs.
Embrace renewable energy
Green power sources, including solar and wind energy, are more accessible than ever, meaning that businesses of any size can make the switch to renewable energy. Installing solar panels could prove to be a great investment that reduces your carbon footprint, and could result in substantial savings in the long run. Energy experts at Mypower explain how businesses should typically pay off their solar power buying and installation costs in 6-9 years and see a typical return on investment of 11-16% or higher. Another easy way to make you office greener is to shop for your electricity supplier and choose a green energy plan.
Encourage green commuting
Businesses can encourage employees to lower commuting emissions by getting to the office by walking, biking, carpooling, or taking public transport, and offering incentives to do so. Offering work-from-home policies and opting to conduct meetings over video conferencing tools like Skype, are other effective ways to reduce the carbon footprint of your business. It will save your business money on office costs and also reduce the carbon emissions associated with employee travel.
With the signs of global warming becoming increasingly obvious, it’s more important than ever for businesses to do what they can to reduce their impact on our planet. More and more people want to support sustainable businesses, so going green is a great way to help the environment, while appealing to a larger number of potential customers. There are plenty of simple ways to make your business more eco-friendly – try some of our tips above and start making a difference today!