Sustainability is more than a buzzword – it’s a way for your business to decrease its negative impact on the environment while promoting energy-saving and cost-saving practices. According to a study by Deloitte, going green can help you attract talent, increase employee retention, and improve workforce productivity.
Two potential avenues for promoting sustainable practices within your business are your office space and the products you use within those four walls. Purchasing the right commercial real estate and the right office products can greatly improve your level of sustainability. Items such as environmentally printer ink and basic postage meters allow your business to be as green as possible.
Your office building is your business’s single largest financial expenditure – and your biggest opportunity for promoting sustainability, energy-efficiency, and green business practices. Search in your area for commercial real estate that has earned a positive rating from the US Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program. Besides a positive LEED rating, look for buildings that have the following features:
· Energy efficiency. Energy efficient buildings utilize renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, hydroelectric, geothermal. They also have installed high energy performance fixtures, wiring, servers, heating and cooling systems, and appliances. By using less energy, sustainable buildings have a lower impact on both the environment and your power bill. Look for an Energy Star rating on appliances and equipment.
· Green construction. Building materials that are considered green include renewable materials, recycled products, and materials that are sourced and manufactured locally. These materials should also be non-toxic.
· Design. Sustainability can be optimized through efficient building design. Large windows and skylights that let in natural light reduce the need for electrical lighting. Good ventilation improves indoor air quality and reduces employee absenteeism. An extensive study by the City of Seattle found that moving to sustainable, green buildings reduced the number of employee sick days by 40 percent.
Another avenue for creating sustainability within your office is through your products. From paper-saving techniques to energy-saving technologies, you can find a lot of room for green improvement when you look at your office with fresh eyes. Consider these products to help you reduce wasted resources – both environmental and monetary.
· Multi-purpose copiers. Paper is one of the largest sources of waste within your office. According to the EPA, the US uses more than 71 million tons of paper each year. A multi-use copier with scanning and faxing capabilities can drastically reduce the amount of printing you do in your office.
· Postage meters. Using a postage meter benefits your office in several different ways. It reduces gas emissions by ending regular trips to the post office – even for packages, which are picked up during your mail carrier’s route. Meters ensure that all of your outgoing mail is stamped correctly, reducing wastage, especially in large direct-mail campaigns. Also, you’ll no longer waste money guessing the postage.
· Other “green” products. These can range from office supplies made with post-consumer content (including paper and plastic products), environmentally-friendly cleaning products, rechargeable batteries, Compact Fluorescent lightbulbs and Energy Star-rated light fixtures, electronics, and appliances.
When it comes to making your office more sustainable, you have a wide variety of avenues for action. You can focus on making beneficial changes to your office lighting, your heating and electricity usage, your building materials, your office supplies, or your office equipment. Procuring an energy efficient office space and using green products are two areas where changing to a mindset of sustainability can produce widespread positive effects for your business.
Megan Webb-Morgan is a web content writer for B2B lead generation resource, ResourceNation. She writes about small business, focusing on topics such as green business practices. Follow Resource Nation on Google+, Facebook, and Twitter, too!Green Office