While office buildings are being built in more sustainable fashion; more natural lighting, solar power, better and better ventilation, there is a lot that still needs to be done to change attitudes of those working in these buildings. There is a lot that can be done to make offices greener. Here are some easy practices that cost little or nothing, but that can have a long-term impact.
Commuting is a part of office culture. With the average American spending an average 50 minutes on the daily commute, there is a huge carbon footprint left by personal cars.
Walking and biking are great ideas that promote healthy lifestyles and greener commutes. Carpooling is another way of reducing carbon emissions by workers on longer commutes. With ever-faster broadband speeds, an organization can look into remote working as a viable idea.
Paper usage reduction
A study done in 2014 showed that the US could reduce its carbon footprint by 1.45 million tons by reducing office paper consumption by 10%. With faster and more secure digital storage, this can be easily done. Many webmail companies offer cloud storage where workers can save their mail instead of printing and an is example Google Drive. Other business processes where paper can be cut include using digital payments, and digital HR records.
Less energy use
Wasteful energy habits in the office often go unnoticed such as leaving the lights on in the daytime. Reducing energy usage in an office reduces energy bills as well as the carbon footprint of the office. Intelligent power and lighting systems ensure that office space and equipment that are not in use do not consume any energy.
Better AC usage is often overlooked as an opportunity for energy reduction. Setting the thermostat to switch on a degree or two higher in the summer can reduce AC energy usage especially in a large office building.
Maximizing natural lighting not only reduces energy bills but alsoimproves productivity. Office desks should be placed as close as possible to the windows. At a little cost, intelligent blinds that draw as natural light and temperatures can rise or fall while LED light bulbs have become standard, they are of different power ratings. Office bulbs can be as low as 15 watts. LED strips can be used to light working spaces instead of desk lamps.
Intelligent systems are a bit pricey to install but offer a lot of benefits in controlled energy usage. Intelligent lighting can be used in security lighting while only lighting up sections when they sense a presence.
Going green in an office is possible by changing a few habits. The costs of doing it ranges from low to medium, but the benefits to the environment are significant in the long term.