There are a number of ideas that offices can use to go green and help the environment.
Implementing positive go green ideas doesn’t necessarily mean spending lots of money.
In fact, using effective go green ideas can save you money and increase efficiency.
Below we have outlined 25 low cost go green ideas for the office. Where relevant we have added links to the go green ideas which have articles that provide more detailed information.
1. Use Environmentally Friendly Website Infrastructure
Your business or your company’s business most likely has a website. Using environmentally friendly infrastructure for your website is a simple and highly effective way to go green. Think about it, every website is hosted on a server. The problem is that these servers consume tons of energy and are powered by fossil fuels. In fact, it is estimated that each web hosting server produces 1390 pounds of CO2 each year! If you or your company are not using an environmentally friendly infrastructure for your website then you are creating more harmful emissions than necessary.
You can reduce your environmental impact by using a green web hosting company to host your website.
Green web hosting companies purchase renewable energy to power or replace the energy used by their servers. This reduces or even negates a website’s carbon footprint.
One example is a company called Green Geeks. They host your website in an environmentally friendly way by buying renewable energy credits (wind energy specifically) to offset the energy their servers use. They buy back 3x the amount of energy that they use which wipes out a website’s carbon footprint.
Fortunately, green web hosting does not have to be expensive. GreenGeeks only costs $2.95 per month and they will even transfer your website for free using a dedicated team. If you are a business owner then you can easily switch to a company like GreenGeeks. If you are an employee that works in an office you could potentially speak to your IT department about which web hosting your company currently uses. It might turn out that environmentally friendly hosting either costs the same, or is perhaps less expensive, yet still maintains the same speed and reliability. Additionally, using a green web hosting gives your company green credentials that it can proudly display so that customers and the community know they are serious about protecting the environment. An example from GreenGeeks is below.
If you or your company are ready to go green then you can check out GreenGeeks now and even receive a discount.
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2. Eliminate single use cups by requiring reusable water bottles and coffee cups.
Lots of offices have break rooms that offer water and coffee. While this is a positive perk for employees, it often contributes to unnecessary waste and expenses if single use cups are available to use.
Remove all single use cups from the break room. Employees will start bringing their own reusable bottles and mugs rather than go thirsty. This automatically reduces the amount of waste that your office produces.
If quitting single use cups altogether is too jarring then consider using environmentally friendly cups instead. For instance, your office can use compostable plant based cups that break down more quickly than regular plastic cups. Plastic cups are not biodegradable which means they take years to break down. Environmentally friendly cups break down more quickly and do not contribute as much to pollution. While it is best to avoid single use plastics at all costs, we recognize that some companies do not have that option so using environmentally friendly plastic products is the next best thing.
3. Buy organic products and fair trade teas and coffees. The importance of buying responsibly sourced coffee is explained here.
4. Go green by purchasing recycled paper to use in the printers. Take it one step further and use paperless notebooks to take notes. Notebooks are often discarded or have many pages that are unused. Furthermore, it can be hard to sort through your notes and find exactly what you need. A solution could be the Rocketbook which is a wired notebook that is erasable and reusable. It can even store your notes in Google Drive, One Note and Drop Box.
5. Cut down on trash and improve recycling rates by removing individual trash cans and utilizing centralized trash cans. This article on the top 7 office recycling tips explains how to do this without irritating a lot of people. High profile companies such as Etsy have reportedly had success with this strategy.
6. Ensure hitting and cooling systems are optimally setup (i.e. are not on in the evenings or over the weekends) and that the temperature is set between 20-22 degree C
7. Implement default double sided printing. This article on green printing tips and advice explains how
8. Setup a printer friendly email signature for all staff. Here’s an simple and short example of what you can say: “Please consider the environment before printing this email.”
9. Encourage cycling to work by providing subsidies for staff who use bikes and facilities (lockers, bike racks, showers) for cyclists
10. Implement a car pool scheme for staff
11. Implement a switch off campaign for lights and office equipment.
12. Put water hippos in the toilet cisterns to reduce flush volume and save water. This article on the top 5 office water saving tips and devices explains water conservation methods
13. Delamp (i.e. Remove bulbs) in areas that are over-lit
14. Replace inefficient, high energy light bulbs (incandescent and halogen lights) with lower wattage, energy saving lights (compact fluorescent and LEDs). Another article by me on how to choose energy efficient lighting
15. Invest in automatic power shut down software or plugs to switch off IT equipment during out of office hours. Here are my favourite automatic power shutdown devices
16. Have all residual landfill waste collected by a waste contractor who offers zero to landfill services (i.e. incineration via an energy from waste plant)
17. Write and implement an environmental policy. Learn how to write an environmental policy with our marketing leading guide. Note: this is the only paid resource on the Sustainable Business Toolkit. We believe it is the most thorough environmental policy advice on the market and guarantee it will leave you with a policy that you will be proud to share with customers, staff and on your website
18. Use non-hazardous and Eco-friendly cleaning products
19. Encourage staff to use scrap paper for internal notes by giving each staff member a scrap paper box in their desk
20. Invest in light sensors for areas that get used sporadically throughout the day (i.e. Meeting rooms, toilets)
21. Measure your carbon footprint to identify where your largest impact is. Our article how to calculate a carbon footprint is a great place to start
22. Ensure boilers, AC units and radiators are properly maintained through an annual service
23. Implement a comprehensive recycling scheme to recycle cardboard, plastics, glass, CDs, batteries, fluorescent tubes, IT equipment ect. Our article on top 7 office recycling tips explains how to do this
24. Optimise the use of natural light and ventilation
25. Use a credible carbon offset program to offset any residual emissions that you can’t reduce or mitigate more than you already have. If you want to find out whether being carbon neutral is a worthwhile pursuit for your organisation have a look at this article
So that’s it for our list of low cost go green ideas.
We encourage you to start small and implement a few of these go green ideas before trying solutions which are bigger and bolder.
Follow the links above to find out more details on some of the go green ideas that best resonate with you and your organisation
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