By Adrian Johansen
As the years go by, more people are paying attention to the environment than ever before, and many want to know what they can do to live a more sustainable lifestyle and help our planet thrive. Luckily, many businesses are also jumping on the bandwagon and doing their part to create cleaner products and more sustainable manufacturing processes.
While there are many ways your company can become more sustainable, a good place to start is with your office building itself. Minor modifications to the structure and reduced energy usage can make a big difference and tweaks are easier to do than many may realize. Let’s talk about how to make better modifications today so we can all have a healthier tomorrow.
Improving the Structure
When we talk about making your office more sustainable, we are talking about the structure where you house your business. If you are unsure where to start, then consider having a professional company come in and perform an energy audit, where they will take a detailed look at your building and tell you about areas of improvement. You can use their report to make any necessary changes. This is easier to do if you own the building, but if you don’t, you could bring the recommendations to the attention of the landlord or management company.
The idea is to prevent the waste of unnecessary electricity and to ensure that all components of the building are running at ultimate efficiency. For instance, if you work in an older building, then you may want to consider updating your HVAC system because older models were not built with energy efficiency in mind so you could be wasting more energy and paying higher utility bills than are necessary.
You also want to make sure that the heating and air conditioning are put to good use and that you are not leaking resources outside of the building. In many cases, the culprit is that your windows are not properly sealed so air can leak between the panels. If your property is older, there may not be as much insulation in the walls as you need to ensure that all of your heating and cooling is staying inside and being put to good use. Again, an energy audit will provide the answers you need.
Reducing Energy Usage
While reducing the potential of wasted energy is good, limiting the electricity that you use in the first place is even better. Think about how you can modify the utility usage in your office building to help the planet and lower your utility bills. You can start small by limiting how often you use office supplies such as fax machines and printers. Instead of printing every document, you can send an email and cut down on paper waste.
You can make adjustments for your heating and cooling as well. The best rule for cutting costs and helping the environment is to not go overboard with how high or low you set your thermostat. While it can be tempting to crank up the air during those humid summer months, experts recommend that you keep your thermostat at 78 degrees, which is cool enough to keep everyone comfortable. In the winter, 68 degrees is an efficient temperature. On evenings and weekends, consider lowering the heat or raising the air conditioning temperature so it uses even less energy when the employees aren’t at work. Programmable thermostats come in handy in this case.
Lighting is another major source of wasted energy if you are not careful. To eliminate unnecessary electricity usage with lighting, make sure that you install LED bulbs in all fixtures because they use less energy while also being more affordable. You can use as few lights as possible during the working hours of the day by taking advantage of natural light. If necessary, consider reorganizing the seating structure in the office so that the desks are closer to the large windows. Not only will everyone be able to clearly see their work, but the natural light could also make them more productive.
A Remote Workforce
This last tip may depend on the type of business that you operate, but by transitioning to a remote workforce, you can radically reduce waste and make major gains towards sustainability. Think about it, by not having to drive to work, you and your employees are cutting down on wasted fossil fuels that pollute our skies every day. Also, when your company isn’t required to continuously order new desks, chairs, and styrofoam coffee cups for in-office employees, you are cutting down on the need for factories to pump out new products, which can easily create waste.
It is important to keep in mind that you don’t need to have everyone under the same roof to be a more environmentally-friendly company. As a remote business manager, you can continue to promote teamwork and a sustainable lifestyle by being accessible for back and forth communication with your employees. You can provide tips and advice for reducing waste and saving on energy costs.
The best way to make a real difference is to get everyone involved and use your education and training to create a culture of sustainability where everyone does their part for the common good. Your studies in organizational dynamics ensure you include everyone by asking for ideas and feedback about how everyone can be more sustainable from home. This could incorporate a plan where everyone ends their workday at the same time and shuts down their computers or you could create green challenges like seeing who can recycle the most for the month. When you think about it, there are many ways that management can foster remote sustainability by showing the importance of helping the planet while also making it fun.
As you can see, there are more sustainable practices that you can implement at the office than you may have realized. By starting with your office building itself and branching out with other green initiatives, your company will foster greater respect and you will feel proud that you have contributed to a healthy planet.
Image Source: Unsplash
Adrian Johansen strives to prioritize sustainability and ethics in all she does. To that end, she writes in multiple fields, applying and promoting sustainable methods and ideals as much as possible. You can find more of her writing here.