Alexa Garthwaite

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Decreasing your office?s carbon footprint

‘Going Green’ is something that’s often preached to us, both in our personal and working lives, with facts, figures and environmental threats flippantly thrown around and debated. However, adopting a more environmentally friendly stance really can make a noticeable difference. This rings particularly true in the work place; whether your office is big or small, slightly tweaking certain aspects of the way your business operates can result in big gains regarding the reduction of your carbon footprint.

There are a variety of ways to become more eco-friendly, and the majority are unlikely to end up costing you more money. In fact, it’s quite possible that as well as being more environmentally friendly, reducing your carbon footprint can save you money in the long run.

Below is a collection of methods to make your office ‘greener’, that are both efficient and easy to implement.

Commuting

One of the most effective ways to drastically cut an offices carbon footprint involves your employees and co-workers, more specifically the way they to commute to work. By encouraging them to reconsider the way in which they travel, while making them aware to the amount of money they can save, seemingly stubborn employees can easily be converted to being ‘green’.

  • Car Sharing

Every day, there are millions of unnecessarily empty seats in the cars of commuters. Sharing your car with a co-worker who lives nearby not only helps save money, but the effects on the environment are substantial. If every motorist shared their commute with one other person, there would be half as many cars on the road during rush hour, significantly reducing congestion and the effect it has on our environment.

If you don’t happen to live near a co-worker, there are plenty of car share scheme websites on the net, but be sure to execute basic personal safety when meeting people for the first time.

  • Cycle to work scheme

Some employers offer a cycle to work scheme, where you can purchase a bike and accessories tax free. This can equate to a 50% saving on the overall cost, and is a great step towards a healthier lifestyle and a more environmentally friendly way to get to work. For an office of 10 people, 450 KG of CO2 can be saved each year by employees cycling to work.

If your workplace doesn’t have a cycle to work scheme, consider asking co-workers if they would be interested before approaching your boss with the idea.

Along similar lines as cycling, walking to work or taking public transport boasts similar benefits. Alternatively, if none of the above are viable options for you; consider executing ‘Smart driving’ which is both greener and cheaper.

Consider a Virtual Office

There are several advantages of a Virtual Office; however they are best suited to small businesses, start-ups, home workers, or freelancers. Apart from the obvious benefits such as reduced overheads, operating from a virtual office removes the need to commute to a physical place of work, countering rush hour congestion. Their reasonable pricing means you will most likely save money in the long run, and ultimately reduce your impact on the environment.

Reduce Paper Waste

Paper accounts for the majority of waste in an office, with a typical employee producing 1.5 pounds of paper waste each day. Recycling one tonne of paper, an achievable task for a typical business, can save 7,000 gallons of water, 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil and 4,000 kilowatts of energy. The facts and figures are astounding, yet the majority of offices fail to take action despite how simple it is to drastically cut paper waste.

  • Print on both sides of paper by default
  • Utilise email where possible, especially for internal communication
  • Don’t print an email out unless it’s absolutely necessary. Consider adding “Think before you print” at the end of email messages
  • When printing, consider using a smaller font and wider margins
  • Reuse scrap paper for draft printing or scribbling notes
  • Place recycling bins in key locations around the office
  • If possible, use mugs instead of paper/plastic cups

Energy Usage

The majority of businesses would simply fail to operate without the use of computers and other office equipment, but these are often the biggest culprits for energy usage in the work place. However, there are a number of ways to offset their heavy use and reduce operating costs.

  • Where possible purchase efficient ‘Energy Star’ equipment
  • Look for power management options on PCs, which boast a number of energy efficient modes and options
  • Replace light bulbs with low wattage, energy efficient bulbs
  • Ensure all electrical equipment and computers are turned off at the end of a working day. Use power strips to make this easier to carry out.
  • Use smart thermostat settings to ensure heating or air conditioning does not come on when its not needed
  • Adopt a ‘lights-out’ policy, urging employees to turn off all lights at the end of the day
  • Perform an energy audit to highlight areas of improvement. Some utility companies will offer to do this for free.

We hope this article encourages you to instigate an eco-friendly stance in the workplace. If all offices implemented these simple yet effective methods, a noticeable impact on the reduction of greenhouse gases can be achieved.

This article was written exclusively for Bdaily by Alexa Garthwaite, Business Development Manager at EO Group London.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Alexa Garthwaite .

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