Make Your Office More Sustainable
More businesses are choosing to become more sustainable by reducing energy use, creating a beneficial office design to promote employee wellbeing and productivity, and more. Not only are sustainable offices more comfortable to work in, but they’re also healthier by providing better air quality and using less energy.
There are various ways to make the change to a green office and develop a more sustainable office space. We’ve created this guide that includes tips on making an office more sustainable. Nothing in our tips is too complicated, and each tip is easy to implement. They can make a huge difference to the office space over time.
So, what’s the difference between sustainable and eco-friendly? Which one should you aim for when making your office more sustainable?
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The Differences Between Green, Sustainable, and Eco-Friendly
An environmentally friendly office is one that has a lifestyle that’s better for nature and the environment. Environmentally friendly offices are also called eco-friendly office spaces. However, just because an office is environmentally friendly, it doesn’t mean the office is sustainable.
Then some of the adjectives used to describe these terms are confusing, including “green, ethical, fair trade, clean, organic, non-toxic, and conscious.” These terms are sometimes used interchangeably and lightly. However, there’s a broad difference between these terms, as have the terms “green office, eco-friendly, and sustainable office.”
The term “green office” now usually means that almost everything related to caring for the environment is “green,” including offices, architecture, and much more.
“Eco-friendly” has a more precise meaning and refers to things that don’t harm the planet, while sustainability at the office focuses on the future.
“Sustainable office space” is the more accurate term and represents a wide range of issues and activities that affect the ability of future generations. What does this mean? It means the environment, economy, and social lives are benefiting without relying on too many resources or causing pollution.
In other words, sustainability at the office includes eco-friendly activities, and green products, but green does not necessarily mean sustainable.
Here’s a good example of green compared to sustainable. Products made from renewable resources are considered green; however, if a life-cycle analysis shows that much energy is needed to manufacture and ship the products, and if the products can’t be disposed of properly at end of life, these are not sustainable products.
How to Make the Office Environmentally Friendly?
Green improvements in an office are beneficial for energy costs and for employee wellbeing and productivity. Spaces that are energy efficient are more comfortable to work in and have better air quality. They also use less energy.
Here are our tips for creating a more sustainable office space.
1. Material Efficiency
Material efficiency is all about creating a green office. All the materials must be sustainable, have lower VOCs, or have a high percentage of the product(s) made of recycled materials. It’s easy to keep this simple by choosing efficient materials when current office furnishings need to be replaced.
2. Allow More Natural Light in for an Eco-friendly Office
A study by Harvard University found that workers in a green office were more than twice as productive as those in a traditional office. This was found to be due to the increase in natural lighting in the office building.
Natural light has a positive effect on people in an eco-friendly office space. Their health is also affected positively by natural light. In addition, natural light can reduce energy usage by reducing the need for artificial lighting.
How can you introduce more natural light into the office? One way is to consider the addition of more windows or skylights. However, it may be as simple as changing window treatments that block natural light for those that allow the light to pour in.
Another helpful way to allow natural light to penetrate the office space is to use glass walls or remove partitions. Changing the layout of workspaces to position them closer to sources of natural light can also be beneficial.
3. Water Usage & Efficiency in an Environmentally Friendly Office
Office workers tend to consume large amounts of water on a daily basis. So, it’s necessary to make changes to the office’s water efficiency to create a more sustainable office.
You may want to consider a dual plumbing system that allows you to recycle greywater for use in the toilet. Investing in low-water use toilets and faucets can save thousands of gallons of water over the course of a year.
4. Rethink Unused Space to Make a Sustainable Office
Many Offices have space that’s not used or is under-utilised, yet these areas are still being heated, cooked, and provided with electricity. In other words, these spaces are increasing energy costs and reducing the energy efficiency of the entire office.
Two of the most common methods for dealing with unused and under-utilised spaces include:
- Changing the office layout: make sure to use every part of the office space with an eye to increasing flow through traffic, ventilation, and light.
- Shut off unused spaces: by closing vents or disconnecting power sources that are being drained.
5. Use Greenery to Create an Eco-Friendly, Green Office
Another way to create a greener, eco-friendly office space is to add plants. Allow employees to bring desk plants to work. In addition, the business can buy plants and use biophilic design to bring nature and living plants into the office space.
Plants produce oxygen and offset chemicals released into the air by furniture and other sources. They work to make the air cleaner and provide more oxygen for everyone to breathe.
In addition, studies have shown that plants and biophilic design make employees happier and increase their wellbeing.
6. Choose Better Office Products & Use Renewable Energy
Using better office products and switching to renewable energy sources can also make an office more sustainable. For instance, investing in greener electronics and technology can prevent waste and be more energy efficient.
Switching to renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind energy, also make the office more eco-friendly.
7. Save on Energy
A sustainable office is one that also uses lower amounts of electricity. Saving energy is an essential part of the process. A business may need to research ways to reduce energy consumption. Here are some examples you may want to consider to reduce energy usage:
- Use low-energy light bulbs (they provide an 80% advantage over normal light bulbs)
- Use LED motion sensors for areas such as meeting rooms, restrooms, and other areas that are used less often
- Pay attention to heating & air conditioning; regularly check to see they are set at the right temperature or use a clock thermostat
- Make sure computers and laptops are in sleep mode for a few minutes and that they are turned off after work hours. Be sure to turn off the printers, too
Summing It Up
There’s no question that environmental issues and terms can be confusing. However, making a more eco-friendly office makes sense. Not only does it help the environment, reduce energy use, and save money, but it also makes the office a better place for the employees who work there.
It doesn’t have to be complicated to change your office into one that’s eco-friendly and sustainable. If you’re unsure of where to start, use our simple tips to get started on turning your office into a place that’s eco-friendly, sustainable, and a great place for your employees to work.
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