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Green Workplace

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A greener workplace can mean a lighter ecological footprint, a more productive place to work, and - interestingly - a healthier bottom-line. Be you the boss or an employee, some practical steps can lay the groundwork for a green workplace.

Contents

[edit] Green technology

Computers and related technologies account for 3-4% of the world's carbon emissions, according to a recent report by Global Action Plan – that's more than the much-maligned aviation industry. Besides changing the type of computers, select hardware that uses less toxic chemicals in the manufacturing process. Greenpeace has helpfully drawn up a guide listing the worst offenders.

If you work for a large company, pay special attention to the data centre, it's the area where those huge, powerful servers are kept. Find out if your workplace uses energy efficient hardware or has an eco-cooling system. If not, suggest changes.

[edit] More green ways that contribute to a green workplace

  • Green commuting is one of the greenest ways to travel to work. Arrange an office carpool or group bike commute. For deliveries, if your business demands it, you can use electric vans or battery operated vehicles.
  • Green energy helps no matter what business you are in. Switch your electricity supply from carbon fuels to clean energy such as wind or solar power.
  • Green building is another way to ensure that the design, plan and construction of your workplace emphasise the current and future environmental impact of the building.
  • Green roof insulates a building from heat loss in the winter and heat gain in the summer. It also helps absorb pollution in urban areas, and reduce rainwater run-off.
  • Green workwear ideally involves clothes made with organic or recycled fibers. Also avoid garments that need dry-cleaning, or involve plastic materials.
  • Green jobs are created for - and by - the green sector, to make environmentally-friendly products or services such as construction of green schools, solar panel manufacturing, energy efficiency retrofits of homes, and environmental clean up and waterfront restoration. Such jobs make for healthier cities and better employment.

[edit] Did You Know?

  • A normal PC uses about 70 watts when switched on (like a powerful light bulb).
  • You can help a busy or stressed colleague to contribute to our environmental targets by switching off lights in her office, if she has left for a meeting or the canteen but has inadvertently left the lights on?
  • A 1000 km flight (From Copenhagen to Brussels for example) emits on average 130 kg CO2 per person?
  • The fuller the plane, the smaller the amount of emissions per person. Try sticking to major routes and use cheaper tickets to reduce your carbon footprint during business travel.

[edit] References

  • Big green ideas for the workplace
  • Hi Tech: Highly toxic
  • Global Action Plan
  • How to Green Your Work
  • Awareness raising