Every day you see news of large businesses going green in big ways. Anheuser-Busch is switching to 100% renewable energy. Home Depot is putting solar panels on top of some of their stores. There are many motivations behind this trend. While doing something good for the planet is possibly among them, these giants are also improving their public image and saving big money. How can you, as a small business owner, do your part while showing employees and customers you care.
- Green Transportation. Encourage employees to carpool, or subsidize bus passes to reduce greenhouse gases from the daily commute. Provide a plug-in station for those first electric car owners, and create a space for bikers to safely store their bikes.
- Green Power. There are a lot of ways to reduce your power usage. Be sure computers, equipment, and lights are off at the end of the day. Use as many compact fluorescents and LED lights as possible. Install motion sensors for lights in less frequently used areas. Arrange office furniture in a way that maximizes the natural light you get. Open windows instead of turning on the air conditioning when possible. Solar power is also still sometimes an option when renting an office space. Contact the utility company about buying the solar they produce. Some communities also have very innovative solar power sharing initiatives for renters.
- Green Air. Indoor air pollution is bad for the environment and employee health. When painting the walls or replacing carpet, look for more natural, low VOC options. Look for office furniture made from real wood, as opposed to particle board. Use non toxic cleaning supplies, and ensure your cleaning service knows this is your preference.
- Green Supplies. Paper is obvious, but it’s worth saying again because many offices still use a lot of it. Go digital as much as possible. Use projector screens for meetings and encourage your staff to make notes on a digital device instead of paper. Avoid printing whenever possible. When you must use paper, buy recycled with the maximum post-consumer content you can find and look for chlorine free. Print on both sides, and use misprints for notepads. Of course always recycle, and make it very easy for your employees to do the same by placing bins in convenient spots. There are also less toxic options for printer cartridges, including recycled ones.
- Green Lunch. Providing a fridge and a microwave will go a long way in encouraging employees to skip going out. It reduces car emissions and waste from takeout containers. It’s also almost always healthier. Install water filters to discourage plastic water bottles. Provide a compost bin for food waste. It’s a major source of methane if it goes to the landfill, and most cities now have companies that come pick it up and turn it to rich compost.
Many of these initiatives will save you money. They also result in happier employees and a better image for your brand. Contact us, and we will help you find the perfect green office space.