Are you willing to pay more for green office space? According to many surveys many companies are. Roughly 48% said they would pay as much as 10 percent more for sustainable (green) space, and 2% said they would expect to pay even more.
Owners on the other hand showed that 57% would expect payback of the investment with savings over a 1 – 3 year period and only 9% would consider a period of over 5 years acceptable.
In actuality, you can go green without having to breaking the bank. You save your money and you save mother earth! Nothing to lose.
Here are some of the tips and tricks to go green. Always remember, apply the 3Rs;
Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.
- The key here is to keep all office supplies organized. Keep all office supplies in one storage. Have someone in charge in tracking and supervising the usage of the supplies, in this way employees will be less careless or wasteful of supplies.
- Use reusable items, one example is a reusable or refillable pen rather than the disposable ones. Reuse old or used papers blank page at the back and turn them memo pads, be careful with confidential documents though! Place a box in a common area where employees can put their scrap papers to recycle.
In larger or global organizations, papers are really out. Most of the conventional companies are still using papers to send around memos to departments or employees, emails are way too better, faster and cheaper.
- Limit the access to the printers, most of the employees will just go trigger happy with printing if not being supervised.
- Invest in HR Software tools, it is more environment friendly and more cost efficient in the long run. Getting signatures or approvals can be done online. You will not need to print papers to get approvals for your vacation leaves, pay slips, performance reviews and all other employee related documents. Can you imagine how many papers will be used per employee, per type of document, it will be tons. We have not talked about the space that these papers will occupy, can you imagine that? Use the “cloud” to store them!
- Online billing is also an alternative for your clients (if applicable). Push your clients or customers for paperless by convincing them what this can do for our environment. Giving them rewards and discounts is a best way to convince them to go paperless billing.
- If printing is necessary, make sure you use environment friendly papers. Look for chlorine-free paper or go with the papers that has recycled materials. Make use of the both sides the papers, use smaller fonts can save a lot of papers too.
The Bathroom and Kitchen.
- Use hand dryers rather than paper towels in both bathroom and kitchen.
- Reduce water consumption. Reduce the amount of water for flushing toilets, ask your office or building engineers about putting brick tank or low-flush models. There are systems too that you can recycle water used in washing hands, reuse it for flushing the toilets. Again, this could be an investment, but you’ll benefit later.
- In your pantry, do not supply disposable cups, coffee stirrers spoon and fork for your employees. Have them bring their own utensils and tumblers. Buy in bulk, less plastic consumption rather than buying individually wrapped coffee, creamer and sugar. Use bigger jars or dispensers that everyone can use, make sure it is being cleaned and maintained.
- Drive BYO Lunch. Healthier but lesser plastic wastes from the fast food packaging.
Office Equipment, Maintenance and the Facility.
- Buy Energy-friendly items
- Use LED lamps, it uses less power. Replace inefficient and high energy light bulbs with lower wattage.
- Use multi-purpose machines, smaller and lesser machines you buy, the smaller footprint will be. One example, printer that can also be used for photocopying, faxing and scanning.
- Consider buying second hand. It is understandable that sometimes you have to keep an attractive and great appearance for your clients. But if you consider getting a second hand, your company will be a great help in reducing wastes and you’ll save almost 50% of your money.
- Control and maintain comfortable temperature in the office. Most of the employees keep sweater and extra clothing inside the office as temperature in the office is colder than outside. You can implement a business-casual clothing policy as they can wear comfortable clothes they want than getting suit up.
- Use environment friendly cleaning products. You can also recycle some items to eliminate odors, like used coffee grounds in your pantry. It’s sets up the mood of your employees plus it more environment friendly than using the chemically produced one.
- Get indoor plants, they absorb pollutants and clean air, some are also can naturally repel insects. It’s will also make the office’s ambiance relaxed.
- Put up reminders in every wall, bulletin boards or even at the back of the toilet’s door. Make it creative to appear more interesting for the employees to read, put quotes, trivia and info graphics about saving mother earth at work.
- Segregate Trash. Put a separate trash bins for biodegradable, for pet bottles and tin cans and all other non-biodegradable. This way, it will be much easier to recycle. Partner with a non-profit organization/community that uses recycled materials to make money out of it, donate your recyclable waste products (such as tin cans, pet bottles, newspapers, plastic wrappers) to them regularly. you help mother earth, you helped the community.
- Set a power down time, for example during lunch breaks, turn off some lights, lamps and computer monitors for one hour every day.
- Procure motion-detecting switch for lights in the meeting rooms or bathrooms. Sometimes, employees tend to forget the number one rule in energy saving even at home – TURN OFF LIGHTS IF NOT IN USE.
- Set up your computers and do not allow screensavers, it consumes a lot of energy even not in use.
- Carpool or commute going to office every day, it is a big help to lessen the carbon emission. Saves your pocket too with parking fee and gasoline. Consider biking going to the office that will give health benefits too.
Organize a team or a committee that will drive programs for eco-friendlier environment in the office.
- This is the most important part, you need people to explain to your employees the objectives and goals of this. It will also project that your company is serious about going green.
- Have this committee to put up rules and policy to implement.
- This team can also make fun events with “Go Green” themes such a fashion show contest where they will be judged according to the recycled materials they used. Give good prizes, everyone will be excited and will have fun. Make fun events where the employees get to enjoy while you deliver the message to go green and love mother earth.
Here are a few more questions to ask and things to consider if you want to think green when seeking office space.
- Is there any active or passive solar built into the construction of the building? Active solar would be solar collectors for generating electricity or heating water. Passive solar is building construction that takes into account the building’s orientation, so that the sun’s effects (such as heat and light) are minimized in summer and maximized in winter. Buildings that have a central atrium built into them also make a big difference for bringing light into the entire building, thus lessening your portion of the cost to light common areas in the building.
- If you are looking at a newer building, ask if it is LEED certified. According to the US Green Building Council, LEED buildings lower operating costs, reduce construction waste, conserve energy and water, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and qualify for tax rebates, zoning allowances and other incentives in cities around the country. LEED certification also is better and safer for tenants, because of healthier indoor environments.
- Find out if your prospective office building is paying attention to their use of water. Do they have low flow toilets and faucets? Do they have reclaimed or grey water systems? These will take water from sinks and filter it for use in toilets and landscaping.
- Ask if they are doing anything less common in the area of green building, such as a vegetative roof, which increases insulation and helps filter pollution. (If there is one, find out if tenants can eat their sack lunches on the roof!)
From an article published by The University of Berkley, they discovered that the development of an active environmental policy actually has a positive impact on a company’s competitiveness in the marketplace.
How can you benefit from this green office space trend when it comes to finding the perfect office rental for your company?
Green Construction Cuts Down on Operating Costs
The cost savings associated with already installed active solar collectors are not negligible. They greatly decrease the amount of money your company spends on daily electricity. When your targeted office building also falls into the passive solar collection category, you know that its positioning will greatly decrease the need for daytime artificial light usage and winter heating expenditures. A central atrium is a big plus when you look for an office that receives natural light from all sides.
Green Landscaping Reduces Water Costs
When you rent office space, the overall operating costs of the property are built into the square footage price Choose a green building that has environmentally friendly features, which extend to the choice of landscaping. While a nicely manicured landscape provides excellent curb appeal and increases the suitability of the building as an office address, the choice of exotic flora can greatly increase the water costs. Pick an office building that uses native plants in its landscape, which cuts down on the watering cost significantly.
Green Office Space Reduces Employee Absenteeism
Whether you have 10 employees or 100, the absence of even just one worker creates a drain on your company’s productivity. A study by the City of Seattle proves that a decrease of indoor pollutants has made it possible for one company to reduce its absenteeism rate by 40 percent. In addition, productivity went up by 5 percent. When you combine the use of green building technology with the choice of environmentally friendly cleaning supplies and companies, it is clear that this is a result your company could imitate.
Going green is easy. Be passionate about green office space and be true about your care for our environment. We do not need to spend so much to achieve this environment-friendly office goals. A few small steps and actions by each of your employees will create a green office space for your company, if we all try this together, it will create big impact for the environment. Whether you have a large, small or even home office, let’s love mother earth for our future.
If you need help finding green office space, contact us. It is what we do.