Going green in your office

When it comes to green living, most ideas relate to residential life. But most of us spend 40 hours or more in the office every week, so it makes sense to push for green initiatives at work.

Regardless of the size of your office, you can make steps to go green and benefit the environment. And, in many cases, upper management will be pleased at the initiative to lower operating costs for the organization. Here are five ways you can become more environmentally friendly at work.

Go paperless

The paper waste seen in the corporate world is sometimes beyond comprehension, with paper waste in America exceeding 21 million tons every year. From memos, invoices, faxes, printed emails, booklets and other paper products produced, waste paper—whether recycled or trashed—can be overwhelming.

The biggest barrier to going paperless seems to be, in many cases, a lack of initiative. If you take the wheel and start pursuing a paperless transition, the impact could be significant. It might be hard to completely eliminate paper right off the bat, so slowly roll it out in the least difficult areas to adopt, and make your way toward the tougher changes.

Draw the blinds

Artificial lighting in the office can create an unappealing aesthetic for workers. Additionally, it’s using electricity at unnecessary times. Opening the blinds and allowing natural light to illuminate your office will be far more attractive to employees, and you can turn off some lights to save money during working hours.

Change your electrical ballasts

When electrical lighting is unavoidable, you can improve the energy efficiency of your bulbs by changing the electrical ballasts. Energy-efficient electrical ballasts better regulate the electrical current flowing into the bulbs. Good ballasts make sure you’re only using the electricity you need without diminishing the quality of light.

Turn off equipment at night

Leaving computers, printers and other equipment running outside of working hours is a waste of electricity—a $2.8 billion a year expense, to be exact. Reduce your company’s carbon footprint by encouraging workers to shut down their equipment before they go home at night.

Encourage carpools and alternative transportation

Some companies have seen a lot of success when implementing programs to encourage carpools or the use of public transit. Try to stir up interest and support for such a program among your fellow employees, and pitch it to management to see if they can offer any incentives.

As you start to implement these changes, keep an eye out for other inefficiencies or opportunities to go green. You might also want to talk to your company’s human resources department to brainstorm more green initiatives that may earn the company’s support. It’s sometimes tough to get management to respond to requests, but given the opportunity to save money, you can be confident you have a suggestion that will attract some support.

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