Transform Your Small Business: Go Green!
In a budding small business, it is important to get off to a good start and make a meaningful impression on costumers. Be economical and ecological. A greener workspace allows for a reduced ecological impact and improved productivity in the office. All too often, we forget to execute simple tasks in order to conserve energy and save money. Make it a priority. Take time to reflect on your company’s current footprint and plot strategies to aim towards a more environmentally friendly establishment. Consider these few points in getting started, and share them with your colleagues. Go green!
Let the Natural Light In
A well-lit working environment is important, but aim to use artificial lighting sparingly. On average, artificial lighting encompasses forty percent of total electricity usage in a standard office building. In addition, there seems to be a strong relationship between excess artificial lighting and minor health issues, as well as a correlation between natural lighting and increased efficiency amongst employees. So, keep the shades open and reduce the use of strong overhead lighting, which may contribute to headaches and eye- strain. Light colored walls and furniture will best reflect natural light, making the office appear larger and encouraging efficiency.
Implement “Task Lighting” and Purchase Fluorescent bulbs
Strong overhead lighting is often unnecessary. Set a plan to utilize adjustable task lighting in order to illuminate specific reading areas. Task lighting not only directs the light towards specific tasks enabling concentration, but also increases contrast and focused visibility for employees. Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent. They last up to fifteen times longer and absorb only one-quarter of the energy. Observe your surroundings and take initiative. Turn off all lights in an empty room and, of course, remember to switch off all lights in the office when leaving for the day. Find our more about task lighting and other lights on our cubicle terminology page.
In today’s technological era, there is no excuse for overusing wasteful materials. Excess materials contribute to clutter and a disorganized environment. Studies indicate that the average person wastes about four hours per week searching for papers, contributing largely to unnecessary stress and stunting concentration and creativity. Whenever possible, digitize. Categorize information into labeled desktop folders and communicate via email. Convert documents to PDF’s to efficiently share with colleagues. Digital planners, calendars, and reminders are useful tools to stay organized as well. The more you aspire to digitize, the less paper and wasteful materials you expend.
Put off Printing
Regardless of valiant efforts to digitize, all offices require purchasing paper. When shopping, choose recycled, chlorine-free paper to save money and energy and buy in bulk. When you must print, format double-sided documents and choose a smaller font to conserve. Avoid color printing whenever possible. Utilize software programs, such as GreenPrint and EcoPrint2, which locate and delete that pesky waste space at the end of documents, such as advertisements or web page listings. Aim to reuse misprints and scraps as notepaper. Recycle printer cartridges and purchase recycled new ones.
When a machine is not being used, don’t just power it down—unplug! Simply switching the off button may send the machine into “standby” mode, still absorbing power. Neglecting to do so not only wastes energy, but also racks up your expenses. When leaving your desk for a moment, set your computer monitor to sleep mode instead of setting a screensaver. You’d be amazed at the positive impact on your electricity bill and reduced ecological impact.
Monitor Office Temperature
Even in the summer, cranking the air conditioning in the office to full-blast is not usually necessary. Monitor temperatures and find a comfortable setting, or instead of using central air conditioners, try purchasing portable ones. Portable air conditioners will enable you to efficiently fluctuate temperatures in certain areas, while saving energy in unused or unnecessary areas. Portable fans are an option as well, as they consume much less energy than installing a central air conditioning system. Of course, if weather permits, open the windows! Fresh air and sunlight will positively transform the office environment.