When it comes to reducing CO2 emissions, we all have a responsibility to make sure our offices are helping to reduce our carbon footprint. As businesses are often a hive of activity it can be easy for the idea of sustainability to fall by the wayside.
The good news is that embracing sustainability is all about following some really simple practices. Not only will having a sustainable office prove better for the environment, but it could also help reduce costs too.
In no particular order, here are some top tips to build a sustainable office:
Start by having sensor-activated lights that will only turn on when someone is in the room. It also means if they forget to switch them off, you won’t be wasting precious energy which will reduce your bills too.
You can also set computers and other technology to go into standby mode after a certain period of inactivity.
Did you know that every person in the UK recycled just 10% more paper, it would save 5 million trees a year? It can be so easy to print out emails, documents and even to-do lists in the office. The truth is this practice is very wasteful, especially when in the digital age it’s really quite unnecessary for the most part.
To make your office more sustainable, email notes or information rather than printing them. You can also make notes on a phone or tablet.
If you do need to print, make sure you print in black and white wherever possible. If you are printing more than one page, make sure you print double-sided to save paper. It’s also a good idea to have a paper recycling bin next to the printer so that waste paper doesn’t end up in a landfill.
Align your suppliers
Delivery vans that come and go are commonplace with offices, especially within large organisations. When you think about it though, it’s hardly environmentally friendly to have multiple companies delivering items in gas-guzzling trucks all day long.
To be more sustainable you should look to align your supply chain wherever possible. For example, getting your new office furniture from the same supplier as opposed to lots of different companies that will need to make separate deliveries.
Another tip is to order items in bulk so fewer deliveries are required. Depending on what you are ordering, this might actually work out to be more cost-effective too.
We all know recycling is the only way to avoid waste paper, glass and plastic from entering a landfill. In an office, it can be difficult to recycle due to a lack of facilities, so having recycling bins can really help. Make sure your staff know where they are located especially if they are outside of the premises.
You could also consider implementing a plastic ban. Although it sounds quite radical, with all of the recent press coverage showing how detrimental plastic is, plastic bans within the office will be something we will start to see more of. It would also demonstrate your company is taking sustainability seriously.
When it comes to your office furniture, make sure you recycle and reuse unwanted items wherever possible. You can also look at using second-hand furniture wherever appropriate. This will help reduce your carbon footprint versus buying brand new items.
Along the same lines of reducing plastic, you could extend this into your kitchen area too by having reusable dishware. This includes plates, bowls, glasses, cups and cutlery which otherwise would be brought in from outside adding to your waste quota. An added bonus is that proper plates and cutlery are much nicer to eat off too.
Remember that takeaway coffee cups or fast food packaging are often not recycled, so eliminating these from your office as much as possible will really help.
Make your building energy efficient
If your building is prone to draughts meaning you constantly need to turn the thermostat up to compensate, then this needs addressing. Areas to consider include doors, windows and general insulation.
Also, bear in mind that certain materials such as floor tiles or exposed brick will not protect against heat loss. If your office is a large open space that is not very well insulated, you will need to spend more on heating it to comply with health and safety regulations. It will also massively contribute to your company’s carbon footprint.
Shut down before you leave
Lights that aren’t switched off when not in use currently equates for 37,440,000 kg of CO2 emissions every single day in the UK. It’s a simple task but making sure your building isn’t using unnecessary lighting can have a huge impact on the environment.
Also, when it’s time to clock off make sure your staff take responsibility for closing down computers or switching off any other equipment in the office. Even when a computer is in standby mode it is still using energy, which really isn’t necessary when everyone has gone home.
Sustainability is the responsibility of everyone who works in your office, so it’s important to get your whole team on board. Simple tips such as making everyone aware to recycle and turn off equipment when they leave can make a huge difference.
From a business perspective, implementing sustainability can also reduce costs too. After all, if lights haven’t been left on all night and less energy is being used to power your equipment this will equal lower overheads.
All in all, sustainability is win-win for both the environment and your business. It doesn’t take a lot to do and can make a huge impact on reducing CO2 emissions.
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