Any office space has the potential to be transformed into a green office. By green, we of course do not mean painting the walls green – we are talking about implementing environmentally friendly, money saving, mood-boosting, eco-conscious materials and routines into your office space. At Positive Adventures, we believe that living a greener existence makes for a better existence. One of our core values which drives our daily actions is “Sustainability: Preserve, Conserve, CHANGE.” Let’s work together to sustain the earth for the future generations. Earth Day is coming up on April 22nd, a great way to celebrate would be by implementing some of these 22 terrific tips to make your office green!
Lighting & Air
1. Bring fresh air inside: Numerous studies have proven that the amount of ventilation in your office is a critical determinant of health. Would you like reduced sick days? Less absenteeism? Even reducing the transmission of germs in the office? By cranking up the amount of fresh outside air circulating in your office space you can achieve this. It has even been suggested that breathing better air leads to better decision-making performance among staff. Whether this involves simply encouraging staff to prop open doors, crack windows open, or install a ventilation system to ensure fresh air is circulating. This is a sure way to add some green benefits to your space.
2. Bring in natural light: Along with bringing in fresh air, bring in as much natural lighting as possible. We recently made our home-office greener by installing skylights to let more natural light in which gives us the ability to keep our light switches in the off position while still being able to effectively work.
3. Install motion sensors: Have you ever walked around a building only to notice how many unnecessary lights are on? Instead of leaving it up to the last employee out of a room to turn off the light, install motion-activated light sensors. This will reduce energy use and your electric bill.
4. Switch to energy efficient light bulbs: Compact Fluorescent Bulbs use roughly 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs, and last 10 times longer! This not only saves on energy costs but also time spent replacing light bulbs, and the waste of numerous bulbs. This simple change requires no conversion of equipment and can be done immediately.
5. Bring in plants: Plants in an office space improve employee performance on memory retention while also boosting employee happiness. Having plants in your workspace will also purify the air. In Amy Amodio’s office, our Director of Outdoor Education you will be surrounded by numerous plants. No wonder her office is the preferred staff hang out!
Kitchen & Bathroom
6. Source local food for meetings: If you’re used to ordering out for meetings, or providing your staff with a fridge stocked full of yummy goodies, try finding a caterer that uses local, sustainable sources for your office food. When you buy local, you support local farms and cut down on the use of fossil fuels and pollution from trucks that have to carry food thousands of miles before it lands on your meeting table. Not only does sourcing local food help the environment, it can lead to a healthier workplace. If you start providing organic healthy local food for your office this can lead to decreased sick days, which is followed by less money paid out in medical benefits.
7. Install a water filtration system: Plastic bottles are the most prevalent form of pollution found in our oceans and on our beaches! Add the environmental impact of delivering all of those plastic bottles from overseas and domestic manufacturers on 18-wheelers and the impact on our planet is even worse. The harm plastic bottles cause our environment is a problem that can be prevented with a simple solution of providing your office with filtered water and not having bottles of water available. Here at Positive Adventures, you will never see a plastic bottle on a desk, we bring our own reusable water bottles that we continuously refill.
8. Reduce toilet water consumption: If you have visited our office, you may have noticed the “If it’s Yellow, Let it Mellow” sign in our bathrooms. A simple way to save gallons of water per flush is to only flush when it’s really necessary. Another tip to consider would be to look for low-flush model toilets when it’s time to replace yours.
9. Eliminate paper towels: Simply stocking cloth towels rather than going through hundreds of paper towels is a simple way to start your path to a greener office space.
10. Use green cleaning products: Numerous companies are embracing natural environmental friendly ingredients in their cleaning products. This will help protect the health of those using the products and eliminates harmful odor substances from the office.
11. Compost: This tip depends on where your office is located. If possible consider having a compost bin accessible. Anything that has recently lived or grown can be composted and returned to our soil to fertilize it. Composting even reduces dependence on fossil fuels.
12. Recycle bins: This one may seem like a no-brainer, but Americans are still producing millions of tons of waste per year. Have you ever printed a stack of newsletters that you later notice an error on and have to toss them all out? Or printed out that long email to never even look at the hard copy? We all make these mistakes, but the key is having easily accessible recycle bins placed throughout the office. If a recycle bin is in clear reach and easily accessible employees are far more likely to use it versus throwing recyclables in a trash container because that is what is in sight.
13. Use refillable ink cartridges: By purchasing remanufactured ink cartridges you will be saving about 15% the cost of buying new and you will be helping the environment because each reused cartridge saves about 2.5 pounds of metal and plastic waste from the manufacturing process!
14. Use multi-purpose machines: Each piece of equipment produced requires manufacturers to use toxic substances, which harm our earth. The fewer machines you can get by using, the better for our planet! Consider switching to multi-purpose machines when it’s time for your next purchase.
15. Buy energy friendly Items: With how many energy saver items exist today, making the conscientious effort to buy only those items will certainly help reduce your footprint.
16. Purchase second-hand: If possible consider purchasing used office equipment. Every time you purchase a new item, numerous resources were wasted while manufacturing that piece of equipment. This is also a money-saving tip to consider.
17. Go solar: Your office building’s electric bill will drastically be reduced or even eliminated. There are government incentives that can help with the expense of solar equipment, making this tip more in reach than you may have thought.
18. Telecommute: Employees who can work from home may stay at your company longer. Many employees are also more productive working from home. Though typically perceived as a perk to telecommute, the environmental effects are reduced and employee morale and retention is boosted.
19. Carpool: Our VP of Operations, Abbie Lovell, often carpools to work with our CEO and Founder, Ryan Shortill. Creating a carpool sign-up at your office could help employees get started with this great tip. If many employees commute far distances from the same area, you can even consider renting a rideshare van for larger groups.
20. Casual dress code: While this can’t necessarily apply to every industry, consider implementing a casual dress code if you can. Even if only a few days a week. By not requiring employees to wear suits which often require dry cleaning, we are helping the environment and employees finances.
21. Encourage biking: Have a place for employees to safely lock and store their bike during the day. If a company offers amenities bikers need, the option will be more attractive. Be sure to acknowledge employees who ride their bikes to work as well. Let them know their effort is noticed and appreciated.
22. Form a sustainable team: Encourage your team to be a green team. Plan some friendly competitions to see who produces the least waste, which staff carpool the most, or who rides their bike to work most often. Make being environmentally friendly into a fun game! Be sure to convey how employee efforts have been impacting the company and environment as well.
Remember the “Three R’s” of being environmentally friendly that we all grew up hearing? Those “Three R’s” have now evolved into “Five R’s”: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Repair and Rethink. Think of ways you can take all five R’s into consideration by implementing some of these 22 terrific tips to go green. At Positive Adventures we adhere by our green commitment. We practice what we preach at every level. If you desire assistance in getting your team into the green routine, please reach out to us and together we can help reduce our carbon footprint.