Jan 25, 2016

Six Ways to Make Any Office Into a Green Office

By Don Catalano



If it's time to move, creating a green office is relatively easy. All that you have to do is to seek out a LEED Platinum building, work with an architect that specializes in green designs and then move in. However, if you're staying in your existing space for a while, you can still make it much more environmentally friendly. Here are some tips to increase the sustainability of any space.


Improve Indoor Air Quality with Plants

One of the many benefits of a green office is that the air quality is higher due to cleaner materials that create less outgassing and due to more efficient ventilation that brings in the right amount of clean air. However, you don't need a newly built space or a five or six digit HVAC upgrade to get cleaner air. All that you need is a few plants. Plants breathe in dirty air and breathe out pure oxygen. They also help to make your office more pleasant.


Buy Energy Efficient Equipment

Are you still using desktop computers or old laser printers without sleep modes? Modern office equipment that carries an Energy Star seal takes less power than older equipment, reducing your environmental footprint. It also runs faster and works better, letting your employees be more productive. Laptop computers, which are usually much more energy efficient than desktops, also allow your workers to be more mobile, enabling flexible working locations for greater productivity, collaboration and convenience.

Use Your Windows Strategically

While you might not be able to completely reconfigure your space, try to use your windows as wisely as possible. If you have high cubes blocking them, drop those cubes to allow the sunlight -- and natural warmth -- more into your green office. Alternatively, if your offices are on the glass line, consider glassing in their interior walls to transfer that light. On the other hand, if you have too much light and heat coming into your office, consider applying a light blocking film to the inside of the window (as long as your lease allows you to do this).

Six Amenities to Look for in Office Space

Change the Thermostat

Changing your thermostat just a few degrees in winter and summer can generate significant energy savings. Going to 72 degrees in summer and 67 degrees in winter is not a major shift, but is a basic principle behind a green office. Employees can adjust to the new temperatures easily by adding -- or subtracting -- a light sweater.

Update your Lighting

A new green office would be built with the latest in LED lighting. It generates high quality light, requires almost no maintenance and consumes relatively little electricity. While a total lighting retrofit might not be within reach for an existing space, consider replacing fixtures as they fail. That way, you are able to spread out the cost while still reaping the benefits of LED lights. Talk to your landlords to see if you can receive the benefit of utility rebates, which is only fair if you are spending the money on the upgrades yourself.

Incentivize Carpooling and Public Transportation

A green office isn't just environmentally friendly within its demising walls. It also has a positive impact on the ecosystem as a whole. One of the best ways to do this is to help your workers reduce their carbon footprints by getting them out of their own cars. Whether you partner with a van-pooling service or you offer programs that let workers pay for public transportation out of pretax paycheck dollars, either can make your office greener while saving your employees money and, potentially, effort.


Learn more about Green Commercial Real Estate:

Green Commercial Real Estate Leasing

LEED Certified Buildings: The Savvy Tenant's Choice

The Benefits of Leasing a LEED Certified Building


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Don Catalano

Don Catalano