Tag Archive | "green office"

Eco-Friendly Office Design Tips

Eco-Friendly Office Design Tips

This was written by Kelli Cooper of Empire business furniture.

Office buildings account for a large chunk of energy use and in the effort to go green, the onus is on the business world especially. Being a better friend to the environment is also good for your wallet and there are several ways that offices can be more eco-friendly and dramatically cut down on energy consumption.

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Lighting Fixes

There are several ways offices can cut down on electricity use with more efficient lighting being a major player. T-8 florescent lamps give better color, flicker less and use 20 percent less energy than the commonly installed T-12 lamps. Look into installing sensors in areas that are not used frequently, such as break rooms, so that the lights only go on when someone is actually utilizing the space. Use lower-energy bulbs such as compact florescent lamps (CFL), light emitting diodes (LED) or neon lighting for exit signs and other types of lit signage.

Climate Control

Heating and cooling accounts for about 39 percent of energy use in an office. Programmable thermostats can significantly cut down on wasted energy. Each separate room should have its own control.  Set the temperature to go down at times when the office is not being used, such as in the evening or the weekends.  Adjusting the temperature by just three or four degrees can save 10 percent on your energy bill—this may not sound like a lot but could add up to substantial savings when you are heating and cooling larger spaces, like an office. Outside air economizers can also reduce cooling costs by utilizing the cooler air outside to cool the air inside the building.

Energy Efficient Products

Using computers, heating and cooling equipment and other energy-efficient products is a significant step in having a more eco-friendly office. The Environmental Protection Agency developed the Energy Star designation for products that cut down on greenhouse gases and other harmful substances emitted from inefficient energy use; these items have been deemed to work as well as their conventional counterparts and if they happen to cost more, the energy savings you will reap using them are expected to balance out the higher price tag. Power-management tools in the computer can help reduce energy use by performing functions such as automatically turning off monitors after periods of inactivity.

Cutting Down on Water Use

Office buildings use up about 20 percent of the fresh water supply. There are several ways to cut down on water waste. Faucet aerators reduce water use without reducing water pressure. Waterless urinals can make a significant dent in water use—if more public buildings used them, trillions of gallons of water would be saved ever year; that is a lot of water.

Landscaping

If you have a lawn, gardens or other greenery around your office building, eco-friendly landscaping techniques are also something to consider to be more environmentally friendly. Using native plants in your landscaping will cut down on water use as well as reduce the need for chemical protectants as they are adapted to the rainfall patterns and local pests. Compost will not only make your landscaping more beautiful, it will help the soil retain more moisture, reducing water use. It may not be practical to start a compost pile at your office so you can buy it at nurseries and other places that sell flowers, trees and gardening supplies, such as a home improvement store.

This post was contributed by a guest writer. If you’d like to guest post for Naturally Earth Friendly please check out our Become An Author page for details on how YOU can share your tips with our readers.

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Make Your Workspace and Office Environment Beautiful

Save Your Office Space With Offsite Document Storage

This was written by Beant Bajwa of http://www.recordsmanagement.co.uk.

Let’s start with a scenario.

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Company Alpha and Company Gamma are new tax consultant firms. Both the firms have multiple clients, which leads to various documents. Company Alpha has a robust document storage system, wherein they maintain a complete track of all the documents within their premises. On the other hand, Company Gamma has a huge room in which they store documents and files at random, and do not have any document archive system. Which of these companies, in your opinion, during an emergency or a random audit, will be more prepared to present the relevant documents?

Document storage can be a simple, yet a lengthy process. You can archive the documents based on various metadata, including a combination of many. Some of these metadata can be names, origin, date and time, importance, and so on. Once you have decided the metadata type, you have to decide the storage type. Will it be in boxes, in carton, in folders, in envelopes, and so on? Yet another step after that will be where to store the documents, and the precautions that need to be taken to minimize theft and damage to the documents. Let us look at each of these aspects in details.

Nowadays, there are many computer-generated software that help in electronic storage of documents. You can store and archive and label the documents, in whichever format and using n-number of metadata with the help of this software. But, what if you have hard copies of the document? How will you label these documents? One of the most common labeling types is labeling by name. For example: Last name, first name. Another common labeling type is through date and time, wherein the documents are stored day, week, month, and year-wise. Besides these common labeling types, companies nowadays use various types of labeling such as organisation name, product names, costs, serial number, country of origin, importance, and so on.

You can store documents in multiple ways. Depending on the storage space, storage style and document type, you can select from various options.

Some of these options are:

  • Storage cases and cartons
  • Storage boxes
    Document binders
  • Encapsulation supplies
  • Envelopes
  • Sleeves
  • Flat files
  • Folders
  • Rolls

You can select from any of these options, or have a combination of 2 or more, depending on your requirements.

The final step in the document archival and document storage is keeping the stored documents safe. There should be minimal risk of theft, forgery, misplacement and damage to the stored documents. You can ensure this by maintaining the proper safety precautions and ensuring that only trusted employees have the access to the storage facility.

Still confused as to how you should go about archiving hard copies of documents? Well, you don’t have to worry. Nowadays, there are many companies who do the archiving for you. These firms specialize in the archive storage business. What’s more, if you do not want to keep years and years of data in your premises, these firms provide offsite document storage facility as well. So, in short, these firms not only help you to archive the documents, they also take the responsibility of storing and maintaining the documents.

Document archival and storage has never been as easy as it is nowadays!

This post was contributed by a guest writer. If you’d like to guest post for Naturally Earth Friendly please check out our Become An Author page for details on how YOU can share your tips with our readers.

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Business Can Be Greener in the Workplace

How Your Business Can Be Greener in the Workplace

This was written by First Choice Business Systems.

There are many benefits to having an environmentally friendly business. Not only is it good for the wider environment, it can also help reduce overall running costs within the workplace.

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It may sound like a big deal when green experts wax lyrical about just how easy it is to turn your business green, but there are numerous features you can introduce simply to reduce waste and save energy. Regardless of whether your business is home-based or in a bricks-and-mortar office here are some of the easiest measures you can implement to go green.

Switch off equipment when not in use

It may seem like a trivial thing but you can save up to 25 per cent on wasted energy just by turning off electrical equipment such as desktops, monitors and printers when they are not in use. It is said you can save an additional 50 per cent by making sure all electrical equipment is switched off at the end of the day and not left on overnight.

Use recycled materials and biodegradable packaging

Business waste can actually carry an unnecessary high premium, with many firms spending as much as 4 per cent of their annual turnover on wasted materials and packaging. By instead using recycled paper and biodegradable packaging for goods and services, you can dramatically reduce waste costs.

Communicate via email

Businesses should encourage their employees to communicate via email and read messages on screen to determine whether it is truly necessary to print them. You will be surprised just how much paper you waste by needlessly printing agendas and memos that can simply be read on a screen or written down by hand.

Introduce plants to your office

Why not introduce some plants in your place of work? They not only make your office look nicer they can also work to absorb airborne pollutants and negative ions from computers, as well emitting oxygen – making your office a much more attractive place to be.

Encourage green habits to and from work

Why not consider introducing a carpool scheme in which staff can lift share or take public transport where possible. Lift sharing obviously saves on fuel and public transport often works out cheaper than filling a car with petrol or diesel and paying car parking fees.

Not all green initiatives will save your business money or cost you nothing in the process, but it is a great way of benefitting your people, your profits and your general reputation.

This post was contributed by a guest writer. If you’d like to guest post for Naturally Earth Friendly please check out our Become An Author page for details on how YOU can share your tips with our readers.

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Make Your Workspace and Office Environment Beautiful

How to Make Your Workspace and Office Environment Beautiful

This was written by Beant Bajwa of http://www.phsgreenleaf.co.uk/.

8 hours a day.

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5 days a week.

That makes it 2080 hours a year. Out of a total of 8760 hours available in a year!

Almost 25%! A lot, right? This is the amount of time you spend in office.

So, how would you like your environment to be for this number of hours? Stuck between four walls, with lots of machines and people around, and just figures and numbers around you? Or would you like a lively environment, with plants and a beautiful décor around?

Commercial Landscaping

Nowadays, companies are concentrating and spending a lot on commercial landscaping. What is commercial landscaping? Corporate landscaping is the beautification of the external area of the office, including the gardens and roads around.

As per Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Landscaping)

Landscaping refers to any activity that modifies the visible features of an area of land, including:

  • Living elements, such as flora or fauna; or what is commonly referred to as gardening, the art and craft of growing plants with a goal of creating a beautiful environment within the landscape.
  • Natural elements such as landforms, terrain shape and elevation, or bodies of water;
  • Human elements such as structures, buildings, fences or other material objects created and/or installed by humans; and
  • Abstract elements such as the weather and lighting conditions.

Landscaping is both science and art, and requires good observation and design skills. A good landscaper understands the elements of nature and construction and blends them accordingly.

Office Plants

While commercial landscaping mainly focuses on the area outside the office, office plants that are placed inside the office and near workstations can work wonders for the overall spirit of the workforce. An office plant, or a houseplant, is plants that grow specially inside homes and offices.

These plants have three distinct advantages:

  • Decorative purposes
  • Good psychological effects
  • Indoor air purification

However, you should keep in mind that indoor plants require a lot more attention and care as compared to outdoor plants. You need to keep in mind many factors such as moisture, light, soil mixture, temperature, humidity, fertilizers, potting and pest control.

Indoor plants in office will not only keep the workforce positive and happy, it will also increase the overall productivity.

But, don’t except that indoor plants alone will increase productivity. Filling up the office with 90 percent plants and 10 percent human beings will not help increase the productivity! If it were that way, I would have been a billionaire by now!!!

Effect of Office Plants

As per Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Houseplant)

Indoor plants reduce components of indoor air pollution, particularly volatile organic compounds (VOC) such as benzene, toluene, and xylene. The compounds are removed primarily by soil microorganisms. Plants can also remove CO2, which is correlated with lower work performance, from indoor areas. The effect has been investigated by NASA for use in spacecrafts. Plants also appear to reduce airborne microbes and increase humidity.

It is true that a healthy and a spirited work environment helps to keep the workforce intact, and reduce absenteeism. So where would you rather work: a place that offers more money and no office décor, or a place where the money might be less as compared to others, but the office environment and landscaping is beautifully done? Where would you like to spend those 2080 hours of the year?

This post was contributed by a guest writer. If you’d like to guest post for Naturally Earth Friendly please check out our Become An Author page for details on how YOU can share your tips with our readers.

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5 Ways to Go Green in your Office Cubicle

5 Ways to Go Green in your Office Cubicle

This guest post is by David Ching of eqaofficefurniture.com.

“Going green” may be somewhat trendy these days, but it is also an excellent way to create a healthier environment. Many people conserve and recycle when they are at home, but pay little attention at the office. You may not be involved in executive decision making at your company, but it’s still possible to do your part in reducing your carbon footprint at work.

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Wondering how? Here are easy 5 ways to go green in your cubicle:

1. Carpool or Use Public Transportation your Ride to the Office If you aren’t able to telecommute and work from home, consider taking the bus or train or catching a ride to the office with a co-worker. If you do not live in an area with a mass transit system, chipping in for gas rather than buying it yourself (or having someone give you gas money to take them to work) is wallet-friendly and a good way to lower pollution. Live incredibly close to work? Ride your bike or walk!

2. Think Before You Print Even though email and instant messages have become the preferred method of communication in most offices, far too many employees still print out memos and other documents that could just as easily be read online. When you must print, use recycled paper whenever possible and print on both sides of the page. Try to limit your use of Post-It notes, too!

3. Recycle And speaking of recycling, always follow your office’s recycling procedures. Place papers, plastics, cans, printer cartridges, boxes and bags into the appropriate recycling container rather than your trash can or the dumpster. If your workplace does not have an effective recycling program in place, start one and remind your co-workers to participate.

4. Skip the Brown Bag If you bring your lunch from home, utilize reusable plastic containers and cooler bags as well as washable utensils rather than plastic forks and spoons. If you prefer eating out, try to limit your use of Styrofoam containers and napkins by placing a larger order with a few co-workers. Skip the expensive coffee shop and pour your own into a reusable mug. Avoid bottled water and use a reusable bottle with built-in filter.

5. Don’t Be an Energy Hog Make sure that your computer is set to an energy-saving setting and be sure to shut it down when you go home each evening. A computer left on standby will continue to use energy even when the computer is not being used. If you have your own printer, scanner or other electronic devices that are not used frequently, unplug them until you need to use them. Avoid using desk lamps, radios, electric pencil sharpeners or other non-necessities in your cubicle. If you must use them, turn off or unplug them when you’re finished to conserve energy.

These are just a few suggestions to help get you started on your quest of going green in your cubicle. Let your co-workers know what you are doing, and ask them for their input! Chances are high that you’re not the only one who is interested in saving the environment.

This post was contributed by a guest writer. If you’d like to guest post for Naturally Earth Friendly please check out our Become An Author page for details on how YOU can share your tips with our readers..

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How Your Company Can Go Green

How Your Company Can Go Green Right Now

This guest post is by Lindsay Mineo of Palatin Remodeling, Inc.

Making environmentally friendly choices in your office today

Going green can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different companies, but at the basic core is the desire to do business in a way that is more sustainable and returns resources back to the planet. For a long time the notion of assisting the environment and making a profit have been mutually exclusive ideas, but now that the concept has been shattered more companies are wondering how to take the first steps. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways your company can “go green” and be more sustainable right now. Yes, even as you’re sitting there reading this, you can make a change in your company. After all, one sustainable change begets another and before you know it you’re making waves.

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Reducing office resources

Most offices go through a lot of resources without even realizing it. Even though much of our work is done online or at least at a computer (and many companies communicate with other offices entirely electronically), we can still expend a large amount of paper products and other resources without even realizing it. Whether you go through a lot of Post-It notes to give yourself or your coworkers little reminders, accidentally print the whole document when all you needed was the first page, or regularly print outlines for office meetings when everyone brings their laptops anyway, reducing or eliminating your paper and tangible resources can be done today. Rather than just tossing those accidentally printed papers in the trash (or recycling bin, if your company uses one), turn them over and utilize the back side for your scrap paper. This can give paper another chance before being trashed, and will cut down on your use of Post-Its, saving the company a little money, too.

Reducing energy in the office

Even small offices use a ton of energy for daily tasks, but many people don’t realize that energy consumption continues after 5 o’clock. Set your office thermostat to have a constant, comfortable temperature during working hours. One problem with offices, especially during the summer, is that they act like freezers, forcing employees to come to work with a coat even though it’s 80 degrees outside. Set the thermostat to a more realistic temperature, like 75 degrees, during the day; this still keeps the office cool and your air conditioner won’t have to work quite so hard and your energy bills won’t be quite so high. Keep the office refrigerator set at a medium level rather than full blast to cut down on energy consumption and keep foods fresher (your salad could wilt from freezing in the back of the fridge!). Remember to turn off your computers and monitors at the end of the day and turn off all lights when the room or office isn’t in use. You could also consider installing a motion detector on your light switches and putting in energy efficient bulbs when the old ones burn out.

Recycle!

If your company isn’t recycling already, get a program in place. Even if you think you’re recycling because you have individual recycling bins for paper, make sure the cleaning crew is actually recycling them and not just lumping all the bins together. You can start by setting up labeled boxes or bins and sending out an email (forget memos!) to everyone that plastic bottles, aluminum cans and paper will now be individually collected. It might take a little while for everyone to catch on and stop instinctively tossing the soda can into the trash, but even a little bit helps. Then, contact the owner of the building and ask about getting a building-wide recycling program started. Chances are the building owner or landlord will be interested in doing so, especially if he or she knows tenants are already interested in participating. If the owner or landlord isn’t interested in recycling (shame on them!), try talking directly with the cleaning crew. They might already be sorting cans and bottles out to recycle on their own to collect extra cash and might be able to help out with paper products.

This post was contributed by a guest writer. If you’d like to guest post for Naturally Earth Friendly please check out our Become An Author page for details on how YOU can share your tips with our readers..

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New Start-Ups and Green Transitions

New Start-Ups and Green Transitions

This guest post is by Felicia Baratz-Savage of Eat Breathe Blog.

Green is big for both large, established companies like Volvo and small start-ups. Incorporating green practices and branding initiatives into your marketing and development cycle can reap big rewards with consumers. From switching to green suppliers and greening your office procedures to creating green products and investing in green building, there are lots of ways you can find to help the environment. Start small and work your way up.

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Easy Places to Start

Adding green efforts to your workplace can happen inside the office, in the ways that you work, and outside the office, with the products or services that you offer. Implementing these small steps can give you a sense of accomplishment.

  • Buy green supplies.
  • Upgrade to fuel-efficient company cars, or try hybrids or electric cars.
  • Unplug appliances at the end of the day, or when not in use, reducing energy use by 25 percent or more.
  • Conserve energy by using energy-efficient lighting and turning it off when not working.
  • Conserve water. Use a water bubbler in the office and stop carrying single-serving plastic water bottles.
  • Recycle paper, and encourage employees to print less or print double-sided.
  • Offer paperless communication to employees and clients.
  • Move everything from HR paperwork to payroll to an electronic format, saving time, money and paper.
  • Use a green cleaning company to keep your office sparkling and nature happy.
  • Develop an environmental business plan that lays out your commitments to sustainability and conservation, steps you have taken and future direction. This can be a valuable marketing tool as well as a roadmap.

As you work through these steps, outreach to employees at all levels, and to the suppliers with whom you do business. Celebrate the milestones of accomplishing each task, even if it seems small. If you pitch your reasons for going green now, you can create buy-in at the early stages that can really motivate change. You’ll also create a greener culture, and can begin to benefit from word-on-the-street buzz about your green transitions.

Next-Level Steps

You should be able to work your way through the initial steps without too much resistance. Some green processes, such as paperless billing, have become commonplace in employees’ personal lives. Next-level steps require a greater investment of time or money up front, but signal to investors and clients that you are serious.

  • Build green if you need to remodel, expand or develop a new property. Use existing standards such as Passivhaus or LEED to guide you.
  • Replace existing appliances, such as your office refrigerator, with energy-efficient ones.
  • Overhaul HVAC systems to become more energy-efficient.
  • Replace existing toilets with dual flush models, which help conserve water usage.
  • Hold a community workday where your staff helps clean up the community where you work, or hold a battery or electronics recycling drive.
  • Serve locally grown and locally prepared food during corporate meals

As you take steps to become greener, communicate your efforts to stakeholders, clients and community partners. Include green news in your newsletter or write a weekly blog posts that highlights sustainability. By communicating practical and helpful information about ecological and sustainable living, you add value to your marketing and communications. You also send the message that sustainability is an important business and personal issue. Even if you’re not as green as you want to be, communicate clearly every step you take and continue to strive toward a green future.

This post was contributed by a guest writer. If you’d like to guest post for Naturally Earth Friendly please check out our Become An Author page for details on how YOU can share your tips with our readers..

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Setting Up a Green Office

6 Things to Consider When Setting Up a Green Office

This is a guest post by Angela Taylor.

Lowering the environmental impact of your business is important. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

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1. Vampire Drain

Buying energy-efficient lighting and electronic equipment can save some money and reduce your energy consumption, but there’s an even cheaper solution will cut your energy bills by as much as half, without buying any new equipment. Few people realize how much energy their appliances use, even when they’re powered down, simply because they’re plugged into a wall socket. Cell phone chargers, laptop power supply, floor lamps—anything with a plug—uses a surprising amount of energy even when turned off. Cell phone chargers are an especially egregious offender—they use just as much power whether you’re charging your phone or not. It can be a hassle to unplug every device in your office at the end of a workday, but you can make it easier on yourself by hooking up your major appliances to a surge protector or power strip. Then, once you’ve safely shut down your equipment for the night, simply unplug the power strip.

2. Green Web-Hosting

Web hosting has become a significant tax on the energy grid of developed countries. If your business has a website, your business uses more electricity than what it says on your power bill at the end of the month, because the servers that host your site need a great deal of electricity too. Fortunately, some web hosting providers are switching to more energy-efficient servers, and purchasing emissions credits to offset their energy usage. Web hosting will continue to be a major consumer of non-renewable energy for the foreseeable future, but you can find a provider that mitigates their environmental impact.

3. Team Effort

If you’re an employer, it’s important to get your team involved. Written, publicly-announced goals are more likely to succeed than private or verbal ones, so talk to your employees about a list of “green goals” everyone can agree on and work together to achieve. You can even use an fully recyclable and Eco-friendly glass whiteboard to list your green goals so that everyone can remember what they agreed to and help each other remain accountable.

4. Packaging

If you require regular shipments of supplies to your place of business, try to find suppliers who reuse and limit their packaging. If your business ships physical products to customers, try to limit your own use of wasteful packaging. This tip will not only save you money and help the environment, it will also be viewed favorably by customers—no one likes having to crack open an over-packaged product. Whenever possible use recycled materials, and prefer paper packaging over plastic—it’s renewable, cleaner to manufacture, and more biodegradable than plastic packaging.

5. Electronic Waste

For basic office tasks such as word processing, spreadsheets, and web browsing, an inexpensive office computer should give you many years of solid performance. If your computer begins to lag or malfunction performing everyday office tasks, don’t be so quick to declare it a lost cause—you’ll save money and help the environment by sending it to a repair specialist rather than disposing of it. Even if your business is involved in high-performance tasks (video-editing, graphic design, programming), it may still make more sense to upgrade your obsolete computer rather than replacing it. When the time does come to put your old computer down, try to find an e-waste recycling center in your area—you would be surprised to learn how toxic and difficult to manage your computer’s components can be in a landfill, and many of those constituent parts are worth recovering.

This post was contributed by a guest writer. If you’d like to guest post for Naturally Earth Friendly please check out our Become An Author page for details on how YOU can share your tips with our readers.

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