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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Steps to Greening Your Office

Sustainable Industries recently published its Green Office Guide. The Guide could not come at a more oppurtune time. Paper usage is increasing about 20 percent a year. A typical office uses about 1.5 pounds of paper a year per person. Commuting to work makes up 20 percent of of all personal vehicle use, and 93 percent of Americans commute to work using their personal vehicles. About 30 percent of the energy used by U.S. buildings is done inefficiently. 

If you want to make your office space environmentally friendly, the Green Office Guide published by Sustainable Industries, suggests seven steps you can take.

1.  Start by creating a green team. Your green team should include personnel from company's management team and financial department. The purpose of the green team is to set goals and monitor progress. 
2.  After you have created a green team, the Guide suggests consulting with a professional. It can be hard to find a professional. Ask your city government if they offer free services to businesses who want to green their operations.
3.  Choose which measure to tackle first. 
4.  Consider what measure will give you the greatest improvements in environmental impact and operations costs.
5.  Set timely goals. The Guide recommends a plan that will reduce your company's energy consumption by six percent a year over the next three years.
6.  Get everyone in your company on board.
7.  Communicate your successes. 

Paper use

Here are a few ways to reduce paper use:

1. Set your office printers to print on both sides of paper. 
2. Print more on a piece of paper by setting the margins 1.25 inches to 1 inch. This will reduce paper use by up to eight percent.
3. Proofread before you print.


Encourage your employees to carpool by starting a rideshare match program. A rideshare match program helps potential carpoolers find each other.Consider pairing the rideshare match program with a cash benefit program.


One way to make your company meetings more environmentally friendly is to do web-meetings whenever possible. If that is not possible then select a hotel from Make sure the hotel your choose is near public transportation. 


There are some easy things you can do to make your office more energy efficient. Make sure lights are turned off in a room when no one is in there. Turn off all computers and computer equipment every night before leaving. Replace light bulbs with compact flourescent lights (CFLs).

Water efficiency is also important. Installing low-flow toilets and motion sensors for faucets will save water. 

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