Corporate sustainability is becoming increasingly important for companies. Not only do green initiatives benefit the planet, but they also improve public perception of businesses and has been shown to positively impact recruitment, retention and job satisfaction rates. While it may seem that as a tenant, you have only minimal control over the sustainability of your office space, that's simply not the case. Following these five tips can go a long way toward establishing a greener office and shrinking your company's eco footprint.
1. Start With Lighting
Lights are one of the biggest sources of energy consumption for businesses, making lighting a great place to start with your green initiatives. Assess how well you are currently using natural light in your office. How could you rearrange your floor plan to maximize the light that shines in through your windows? Once you have taken steps to make the most of this natural illumination, you may find that you can turn lights off in many areas of your office on sunny days. You can further green your lighting by making the switch to energy-efficient LEDs.
2. Improve the Air Quality Naturally
Improving indoor air quality benefits the planet while also promoting overall health and well-being for your employees. Simply adding live plants to your office space can go a long way toward boosting indoor air quality. Plants draw in carbon dioxide and release oxygen into the air while at the same time make offices more visually appealing. In addition, look for paint, carpets and window treatments that are low VOC or VOC free. These materials completely eliminate or dramatically reduce exposure to volatile organic compounds that reduce indoor air quality.
3. Tighten Up on Thermostat Access
Heating and cooling are another major energy expenditure for businesses. By simply reducing the thermostat by one degree in the winter and raising it by one degree in the summer, you can reduce energy use by 1 percent. Bigger adjustments result in even more energy savings. Communicate with your staff about the importance of better controlling temperatures in the office, so that they can take steps to ensure their own comfort during working hours. Locking the thermostat or switching to a smart thermostat that is password protected can help to ensure your desired settings are not adjusted.
4. Choose Equipment and Fixtures That Conserve
Whenever possible, outfit your office with eco-friendly items. Make sure that refrigerators, computers, copy machines and other appliances and office equipment carries the Energy Star symbol to show that it is energy efficient. For your plumbing needs, look for the WaterSense symbol, which indicates that the fixture conserves water.
5. Involve Everyone
Going green requires everyone's help. Make sustainability part of everyone's job duties. Encourage employees to provide suggestions on ways to reduce waste and conserve around the office. You can make green initiatives fun by pitting departments against one another in a game to cut down on paper use or increase participation in recycling programs. Establish overall sustainability goals for each quarter and report your progress regularly to keep everyone involved.
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