|The Green Office is not
about the color of your office space walls, but the desire of
business owners and managers to be socially and
environmentally responsible. Many tenants are beginning to
insist on more environmentally friendly office space.
According to a recent Green Building survey "Despite the
financial scars, the principle of energy efficiency is now
deeply embedded in the culture of commercial real estate. An
overwhelming 95% of corporate respondents stress
that green design is important in the site selection process." If you are
reading this, you are probably included in this group; those
who are recognizing their corporate responsibility to be
good citizens. Many are taking The Green Office; the use of
recycled, environmentally friendly, and sustainable business
products, and paper, very seriously.
|A Green Office incorporates design, construction and
operational practices that significantly reduces or eliminates negative impacts on the environment and its occupants.
The green office is an opportunity to use resources
efficiently while creating healthier environments for people
to live and work in.
Photo at right is
Joe Serna Jr. California EPA Headquarters Building
Green office space not only includes the building, office products,
but transportation as well.
The National Safety Council estimates that riding the bus is
over 170 times safer than automobile travel – and it's
One person flying from Los Angeles to New York causes as
many emissions as the average American driver does over the
course of 2 months
||The US Green Building Council has the LEED Rating System to
rate buildings as to their environmental friendliness. "The
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green
Building Rating System™ encourages and accelerates global
adoption of sustainable green building and development
practices through the creation and implementation of
universally understood and accepted tools and performance
The BIG question:
How can we incorporate the Green Office into our
business without too much pain? In actuality, it is not too
General Green Office Practices
Following some of these tips will not only help your office
become greener, but will save you money, too.
- Turn off your computers and monitors
overnight and on weekends.
- Buy and Activate the "Energy Star"
energy saving functions available on most computers and
other office equipment.
They are up to 52% more efficient.
- Turn off lights when not in
- Use motion detecting switches in less used areas
- Open windows instead of using air conditioning where
- Turn off your climate control when not needed
- Do not buy bottled water. Use a water filter
- Give preference to locally manufactured supplies.
- Install desk side recycling
- Use email instead of USPS mail
- Store electronic reports rather than paper reports
- Avoid using FAX cover sheets
- Use the double sided feature of your printer.
- Reuse paper for note pads.
- Buy only recycled paper.
- Replace light bulbs with lower
wattage or compact fluorescents.
- Get flat screen monitors for
your computers. They are more efficient.
- Maximize the use of natural
light in your space by placing private offices in the
interior areas for the space.
- Insist on biodegradable and
non-toxic cleaning supplies.
- Buy re-manufactured or refillable toner
cartridges for printers and photocopiers.
- Printing Services Selection
that before purchasing printing services from a provider,
make sure that the materials and practices they use are
sustainable. The Solid Waste Management Controlling
Board has compiled the following list of recommended
requirements for printers:
- Vegetable-based and recycled (filtered) inks; avoid
inks containing heavy metals
- Recycled-content (30% minimum content) and tree-free
blend papers; PCF – process chlorine-free is the best
- Alcohol-free printing processes
- Solvents free of toluene and methylene chloride
- Paper recycling and reuse programs
- Workplace safety and accident reduction programs
- Know Your Carbon Footprint; the amount of greenhouse
gasses you produce. Use the
EPA's Carbon Emissions calculator to obtain
an estimate of your greenhouse gas emissions. They will
also help you to explore
what you can do
to lower your emissions while
reducing your energy and waste disposal costs.
Other Green Office Resources
to Get Help