The Green Office: Eco-Friendly Options for Your Workplace

Green Office Ideas

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Why Be Green at the Office?

Many of us want to contribute to the well-being of the earth. Some organizations are now even demanding their suppliers of goods and services meet green standards in their operations. At home there are lots of options from recycling waste through to buying ecologically friendly products. Why not take some of these ideas and apply them at the office? Aside from the environmental benefits, you get to feel good and in many cases you can also save money. Even if it is not practical to make major changes, there are still some green work habits and strategies that can be adopted with minimal effort and expense.

Power Sources

Unlimited potential here, consider:

* Solar panels for the roof, if practical, to provide energy for the office.

* Laptops, calculators, backpacks can all be purchased in solar powered versions

* Use rechargeable batteries where possible

* Turn off equipment when not in use (master/slave powerboards are available to make it easy to turn multiple pieces of equipment on and off - use care in regard to this where equipment is sensitive, such as laser printers).

* Use energy saving fluorescent lamps where practical.

* Turn off the lights when the office is not in use unless there is a safety or security issue that requires them to be left on. Consider using motion sensitive and timing switches to minimize energy use in the less-frequented areas of the office.

* Consider using a green energy provider, see this site for the USA, this site for the UK, this site for Australia for ideas, or do a search on "green energy" for local options.

Energy Generation

Paper

The "paperless office" has been promised for a long time now but in most cases does not appear to have arrived. Some ways in which you can be environmentally friendly in this regard include:

* Asking for recycled paper when ordering stationery

* Double-side photocopies

* Use email where possible and don't print emails unless really necessary

* Where confidentiality permits, recycle office waste paper.


Coffee

Can't work without it, right? So consider bringing your own mug rather than using disposable ones. You could even bring your own coffee in a thermos. Of course you would only buy eco-friendly coffee for the office, see this site for information on why organic and free-trade coffee are important.


Travel

To and From Work

Perhaps you can catch public transport instead of driving. Perhaps you can offer a colleague a lift to work if you live nearby or catch one with them. Depending on the distance and the environment, it may be possible to cycle or walk to work.

Travel for Work

Question whether it is really necessary - videoconferencing is another option. If travel is required by air then you can buy carbon emission offsets for your flight. Or you could take the train or bus if practical.

Promotional Items

Usually at some point in a business's operations, there is a need for promotional items to give out to customers and potential customers. From water powered clocks to solar powered phone chargers, shower timers to recycled rulers, there are some whimsical products that can promote your business as well as your eco-friendly credentials.

Partners

Given the focus on going green, it is not too difficult for a business to find suppliers who are ecologically aware. Speak to your current suppliers about their policies and look for green-friendly organizations when seeking future goods and services. Also look for organizations who can recycle your old computer equipment, phones and any other products such as packing materials that you would otherwise throw out. You may even find an opportunity to profit from waste materials.

At the End of the Day

These ideas are just a starting point. Doubtless in the future there will be new ideas and technologies making it even easier run your office in an ecologically-friendly way.

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