Green workplaces enable employers and business owners calculate the benefits of going green, such as saving on energy and waste-related costs, protecting the health and welfare of the workforce and developing into a more competitive enterprise with more to offer the environmentally aware public.
Why should I be aware of this?
Many of us are now looking for new ways to cut carbon emissions in the home. But while in the workplace we tend to forget our planet-friendly promises. We have no control over our actions which may be contributing to more greenhouse gases.
How does this affect me?
Maintaining a green office and workplace, using renewable or recyclable materials, show that businesses have an environmental conscience and are willing to support and show their global responsibility. An environmentally favorable workplace is less likely to make workers fall ill and a satisfied employee will always be better for productivity.
All about green workplace
It is possible to create a greener workplace in several ways - from using recycled products to installing doubled-pane windows for better insulation. Even small steps such as encouraging employees to bring lunch from home in reusable containers and getting your own coffee mugs instead of throw-away cups can go a long way in making your workplace green.
Greening up your workplace begins with the way you travel to the place of work. Today’s technology - video conferencing, instant messaging and online seminars- makes it possible to telecommute by working from home. If your office is close by consider walking or biking. If not carpooling with two to three other like-minded people or using public transportation are other options Other alternatives are purchasing a hybrid or electric car or switching from an eight-hour workday, five days a week to a 10-hour workday, four days a week. This will cut your daily commute time by at least 20 percent and give you longer weekends.
One of the most effective ways to be more eco-friendly in your office is to reduce paper waste. By replacing a fax machine with a fax modem you can send and receive paperless documents. Rather than paper printouts use electronic forms, e-mail letters and documents which can be read online. Printing of long reports can be avoided if most take their laptops to team meetings. Also storing files on your computer saves time, money and space.
A natural plant in the room not only adds beauty to your surroundings but also improves the quality of indoor air. Such plants will work wonders if your office building is tightly sealed to conserve energy. There may be materials in older buildings and that produces harmful pollutants from synthetic carpeting and fabrics, plastic coated wallpaper or laminated countertops. One of the best natural defenses against these contaminants is to make liberal use of live houseplants.
What can I do?
Reuse and recycle
On an average estimate, for every tonne of household waste we produce, commercial, industrial and construction businesses produce another six tonnes. Hence it is essential to keep our waste to a minimum. Install recycling bins to cut the amount of rubbish you send to the landfill. Also try to reuse as many resources as possible, such as using scrap paper to make notes, buying a proper mug or glass for drinks and making sure any old equipment is donated to charity or properly disposed of.
Don’t keep PCs on standby mode
Don’t keep your PC on standby mode but make sure that it is completely switched off at the end of every working day. While turning the main PC unit off make sure that the attached equipment such as your monitor or printer are also switched off properly.
Switch off all lights
By switching off all lights you cut your energy usage in the workplace. Ensure that lights are switched off in offices, meeting rooms, staff rest rooms and other areas when they are not in use. Using signs as reminders to switch off light can help.
Use low energy lights
Whenever any type of bulb needs replacing in your workplace get it is swapped for an energy-efficient bulb. If you can get all bulbs changed straight away, even better. These bulbs are not only energy-efficient but also last up to 10 times longer than traditional bulbs
Conduct energy audit
Badly designed, planned and built office properties contribute massively to energy wastage. An energy audit can help you see where your company could improve its energy efficiency and contribute to the decrease in carbon dioxide emissions. There are a number of organizations who give such services free of charge.
Screensavers can actually use more energy than when the screen is just let on. The older style CRT monitors are bigger culprits as they use a lot more energy than the newer flat screen monitors. Moreover, the heat that is generated when the screen is on is wasted energy. If too many monitors are left open in an air-conditioned office, the room gets heated and the air-conditioners have to work overtime to keep the room cool.