June 4, 2023
How to Create a Greener Office: 17 Easy Steps for Any Business
Going green at the office doesn’t have to be complicated.
There are simple changes any company can make to reduce waste and lower costs — all while shrinking their environmental footprint.
Here are 17 easy steps to get you started:
1. Switch to LED Lightbulbs
Replace standard fluorescent bulbs with LED bulbs which use up to 90% less energy and last 10-50 times longer. Install motion sensors or timers for areas that are dark for long periods. This can save thousands per year in utility bills.
2. Program Your Thermostat
Use a smart thermostat to automatically adjust the temperature when spaces are unoccupied, saving up to 20% on energy bills. Set it a few degrees warmer in summer and cooler in winter when staff are away.
3. Go Paperless
Use electronic documents and forms, set printers for double-sided printing, and avoid printing emails. Store manuals and forms electronically instead of printing copies. This can save up to $60,000 per year for a mid-sized company.
4. Provide Clearly Labeled Recycling Bins
Make sure paper, plastics and cans have designated recycling bins near printers and break rooms. Educate staff on what is recyclable to maximize waste diversion from landfills.
5. Use Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products
Switch to non-toxic, biodegradable cleaning products that are phosphate-free and chlorine-free. Avoid aerosol sprays and cleaning wipes when possible. These changes create a healthier work environment and support sustainable supply chains.
6. Buy Sustainable Office Supplies
Choose FSC-certified paper, re-manufactured ink and toner cartridges, reusable plates and utensils, and other eco-friendly products instead of disposables. Shop with sustainability in mind.
7. Incentivize Alternative Commutes
Offer flexible schedules, transit benefits or extra time off for employees who walk, bike, use public transit or carpool. This reduces traffic and emissions while improving your employees’ work-life balance.
8. Establish an Environmental Policy
Build a plan that covers energy use, paper consumption, recycling goals and expected staff behaviors. Appoint ‘Green Leaders’ to help implement and track key metrics. Hold everyone accountable to meet sustainability targets.
9. Conduct an Energy Audit
Get experts to assess your building and identify areas where energy (and money) is being wasted. They’ll recommend upgrades that pay for themselves over time through lowered utility bills.
10. Install Motion-Sensor Faucets and Low-Flow Aerators
Reduce water use by upgrading faucets and shower heads with low-flow aerators that mix air into water streams. Motion-sensor faucets only run when hands are below. This can cut water bills up to 30% per year.
11. Use Rechargeable Batteries
Provide rechargeable batteries for all equipment and gadgets instead of single-use batteries. Rechargeable batteries save money and reduce hazardous waste over time.
12. Turn Off Lights and Electronics
Set a policy that employees turn off electronics, lights and equipment at day’s end. Copiers and lights should be turned off when not in use. This simple act can save up to 20% on energy usage per year.
13. Install a ‘Green Roof’
If possible, install a roof partially or entirely covered in vegetation. Green roofs naturally insulate, reducing heating and cooling costs up to 30%. They also absorb rainwater and pollutants.
14. Add Solar Panels
Solar panels can generate renewable power for your office and cut carbon emissions. Although installation costs are initially expensive, solar can pay for itself in 3-5 years and then provide free energy for up to a further 25 years. With pollution-free solar, you can benefit from sustainability for decades.
15. Plant Trees and Greenery
Add trees, shrubs and gardens around your building which naturally cool the interior in summer, filter pollutants and raise morale. Plants also provide a natural habitat for wildlife.
16. Compost Food Waste
Start a composting program to divert food scraps and compostable paper from landfills. Use the compost to maintain your outdoor plantings or donate it to community gardens.
17. Spread the Word
Educate staff and clients regularly about your sustainability goals and progress. Share stories to inspire employees and build momentum for an ever ‘greener’ office!
By making many of these easy changes, any business can improve environmental performance, cut costs and boost employee wellbeing.
Making that first step is the hardest though — so why not start today?
Together, we can all make a difference.