How to ‘Green Up’ Your Business

By | December 22, 2011

In today’s marketplace, going green is a common notion that is spreading like wildfire. Many businesses and organizations are claiming to be eco-friendly, however believing a company is green and it actually operating in a sustainable manner are two different things. Entities must make a solid effort to function in a more environmentally friendly manner and all it takes is small changes to reduce energy costs and save natural resources. The changes may be so minimal that business do not have much impact on function and have a major affect on helping the environment. Here are some useful tips to make your business greener.

Use Efficient Lighting

Make sure windows are not blocked by cubicles and storage equipment and utilize natural light as much as possible to reduce energy. Install energy efficient lighting at individual desks using compact fluorescent light bulbs. Encourage employees to turn off lights when not in use. Also, make sure used bulbs are properly recycled.

Shut Down and Unplug Electronics

Office electronics that are kept on during off hours are working just as hard as they are during the day and often using twice as much power in idle modes. Save energy by encouraging all employees to shut off and unplug all types of equipment at the end of the day including computers, printers, fax machines, and other devices. Remembering to shut down and unplug equipment is a relatively easy behavior.

Go Paperless

When possible, switch to digital documents by creating or scanning information into a database. Not only does this practice save trees and reduce waste, but also data can be easily recalled from the click of a button. Majority of modern operating systems feature direct search functions that enable users to quickly locate information. Paperless systems also save on storage space and time.

Print Less

When documents need to be printed, print as little as possible and only print the essential information. Set printers or copiers to print on both sides of the paper and use sustainable paper options.

Recycle Paper

Recycle all types of paper from scanned documents to scraps. Not only does it help the environment, but also recyclable paper may be profitable to larger organizations. To encourage recycling around the office, set up convenient recycling bins under each desk and larger bins in common areas such as near copiers and mail boxes and in break rooms. Every place there is a trash bin, there should be a recycling container.

Purchase Green Office Supplies

Many companies offer a variety of green office supplies such as eco-friendly cleaning products, recycled furniture and staplers, and remanufactured printer ink and laser toners. Remanufactured products cost about 15 percent less and reduces metal and plastic waste.

Encourage Telecommunication When Possible

Instead of requiring all employees to come into the office on a daily basis for work tasks and meetings, encourage telecommunication. Consider allowing employees to work from home several times a week. For meetings, modern teleconferencing tools are available such as real-time instant messaging and conference calls. To maintain productivity, set up metrics to ensure the company is receiving the same output.

Carpool

Organize an office carpool to reduce the amount of pollution. You can post notices on bulletin boards or in newsletters for individuals who live in close proximity to each other. You can even consider offering incentives for employees who organize and maintain carpooling activities.

By following these useful tips, you can easily make your office more eco-friendly and reduce your carbon footprint. Going green can also result in higher profits for your business in the long run due to the decrease in overall operating costs.

Note from the Editor: This was a guest post.