Even with environmental consciousness at an all-time high, modern offices are rarely eco-friendly. Reams of paper are used each day, and huge amounts of energy are expended to keep the lights on and maintain a comfortable temperature.
But making your office eco-friendly offers many benefits, including improving your organisation’s image, making your employees happier, and, of course, saving money at every turn.

So if you’re looking to make your office space greener, read on for some great tips to get you started.

 

Use more natural lighting

One of the most common first steps for green-ifying a space is to swap out existing lightbulbs with LED alternatives that last longer and use energy more efficiently.
But you should also minimise the amount of artificial lighting you’re using in the first place.
Make sure your workplace uses natural light effectively and efficiently. Install larger windows and skylights, and consider relocating conference rooms and workspaces to areas with more sunlight.

That way, you can keep the shades open rather than switching the lights on.

 

Source your coffee responsibly

A major part of using resources responsibly is knowing where they come from.
Coffee, while delicious and vital to many workers’ wellbeing, is often produced in ways that are harmful to the natural environment – and the people who farm it.
Switching to an organic or fair-trade variety, on the other hand, can do a lot to make your office’s impact greener – and it often tastes better, too.

 

Explore renewable options

Do you know how the lights are being kept on?

While some areas have made great strides toward using renewable energy, the sad fact is that many power grids are still connected to power plants that burn fossil fuels to keep the lights on.
If it’s possible, switching to a more renewable energy source like solar or wind is often the greenest thing you can do as a company.
You move yourself completely off the fossil fuel grid – and in the long run, equipment like solar panels tend to pay for themselves.

 

Scrub the floors green

Keeping the office clean is important, but it’s crucial to consider the kinds of cleaning supplies your company is using to get that done.
For example, using microfiber cloths instead of paper towels is one good option, as it cuts down on paper waste substantially. Further, make sure to use safer cleaning products that don’t contain potentially harmful chemicals.

 

Switch to recycled copy paper

Many businesses over the past few years have tried going paperless, but oftentimes it’s hard to get off paper completely.
Your business still needs to maintain vital physical records, and while you should always try to minimise paper usage and reuse what you can, switching to recycled sources of paper is also a responsible move.
It reduces paper waste, of course, but it can also help spur the local economy – often at little to no extra cost.

 

Use plants for air filtration

Making your office greener can be taken literally – by adding in plants and other greenery.
As an immediate benefit, plants help to break up the visual monotony plaguing many offices, adding in splashes of green and bright colours to any greyscale backdrop.
They can also improve the air quality in the office, though, reducing the need for manufactured air filters.
Keeping the air clean will improve morale and happiness – and it can even stop the spread of illness, meaning fewer days missed at work.

 

Always unplug

Powering down workstations at night is a responsible move that every organisation should make.
But energy use doesn’t always stop when you hit that power button. Leaving electronics plugged in – especially computers – often means they continue to leech energy, even in a powered-down state.
By simply remembering to unplug workstations each night, you can both use less energy in the office and save money on the next month’s electric bill.

 

Stock the kitchen with reusable utensils and dishes

Is your office kitchen fully stocked? It not, it might be a good place to reduce your impact on the environment.
Constantly using disposable plates and plastic forks for those company parties adds up to a lot of unnecessary waste that’s fairly easy to cut down on.
Compostable plates are readily available, but it’s also fairly easy – and saves money – to buy sets of metal cutlery and dishes.
These can be used over and over – and they make your workplace a little classier, too.

 

Ease off the thermostat

Leaving a bit more of the climate control to your body’s temperature regulation can save a lot of money and energy.
It depends on the season, but setting the thermostat a bit cooler in winter and warmer in summer reduces your carbon footprint by a huge amount.
This is especially reasonable in the summer, as people tend to be more productive at higher temperatures than at ones that make you reach for an extra sweater.

 

Encourage biking and public transport

Do you know how your employees get to work each day? If they’re driving – especially by themselves – it’s taking a massive toll on the environment.
A great way to improve your office’s eco-consciousness is to help employees use their cars more efficiently – or ideally not at all.
Find out which employees live near one another and start a carpooling network – both saving them money and cutting down on emissions.
You can also set up bike racks or try challenging employees to bike to work, rewarding them the longer they keep it up.
Finally, see what public transportation options are feasible, and consider offering vouchers as an incentive for employees to take the bus or a train.

 

Conclusion

Transforming your office space into a completely green sanctuary takes a lot of planning and, often, a significant investment.
But the good news is that there’s a wide range of options, allowing you to do as much – or as little – as is right for your company.

Every bit helps, and if you use this list as a starting point, you’ll be well on your way to setting a great example for green office design.

Isaac Church lives in New Zealand, originally from Cornwall in the UK. He’s a bit of a geek who helps businesses grow and succeed online and occasionally makes bits of awesome software. When he’s not working, he spends his time exploring New Zealand or traveling overseas. Isaac’s other interests include cycling, photography, and reading.