You’re probably already fairly green, but you can always find ways to go even greener, especially if you think outside the (recycling) box and look for more unusual environment-saving tricks.
Buy sustainable paper
Your office will need paper for a while yet, so look for chlorine-free packs, or for paper made from hemp, organic cotton or bamboo, as these are more sustainable sources. While you’re at it, print on both sides of the paper whenever possible.
Update your mailing lists once or twice a year
Keeping your mailing list up-to-date means you’re not sending out unnecessary letters and flyers, which saves ink, paper and money.
Use smaller fonts
Reducing font size saves a lot of ink and also a lot of paper – week in, week out, this makes for big savings.
Have a dress-down Friday
If you can, have a dress-down Friday. You might be wondering how this helps your carbon footprint – well, it means less dry-cleaning, which is great for the environment and everyone’s expenses.
Many employees are more productive at home, believe it or not, so offer people the chance to telecommute at least a few days each month. Your employees will save petrol, time and you could move from that big old draughty office to a smaller, but modern commercial property in Mayfair.
If you can, install solar panels or a solar water heater – you might, if you own your premises, be able to get a government grant to help with the expense.
Let more light in
Lighting makes up 40% of the electricity consumption in the average office building, so open the blinds, decorate with light-coloured gloss paints (they reflect light better) and make sure your lights go off at night.
Use multi-tasking machines
Think about it – a fax machine, a black and white printer, a colour printer, and a scanner…look for machines that perform two or three functions so you’re saving electricity, space and, most importantly, you’re not buying into too many polluting manufacturing processes.
Buy used furniture & equipment
Whenever you can, buy second-hand office equipment and machinery so you’re reducing the amount of by-product generation that comes from making a new device. Even if you can get a new one for the same price, opt for the used one, as that’s possibly one less machine or piece of furniture in the next production run.
Look at your air con
Offices tend to be too cold, especially in the summer when the air con is on full. Try making it a couple of degrees warmer – this will be much more comfortable for everyone and won’t up as much energy. In the winter, turn the thermostat down a degree or two, as most people won’t notice and you’ll save a small fortune.
Use cloth hand towels in the bathroom
You could also install hand dryers, but using cloth towels on a roll, or in a stack, saves on paper. Admittedly you have to wash them somehow, but most laundries have energy-efficient machines nowadays.
Save on flushing water
Not as gross as it sounds – the old trick of putting a housebrick in the tank or replacing old toilets with new low-flush models will cut down on what is the biggest water consumer in offices.