Updated: Feb 23
Ever wondered, how big a difference we can make to the environment if all our offices adopt green-ways? The three Rs, Reduce Reuse Recycle, if kept in mind, the energy efficiency of offices can definitely be increased. The blog focuses on ways to make offices eco-friendly. Read through!
Sustainable practices are not just to keep the environment healthier and cleaner, but also to make our lives easier. Using renewable energy sources wherever possible makes our office a green office. The solar heater is a common switch many offices have already made. We spend at least 8–10 hours a day in the office, so why not extend our sustainable practices at work also? It’s another thing that in today’s scenario where we are fighting Covid, homes have become offices, but sooner or later we are going to go back there. Why not utilize this time in gradually converting the offices into green power?
An office under the evening sky? Perhaps!
Thankfully, all of us have seen the perils of unmindful consumerism over the last couple of decades. It has given a sudden boost to the idea of sustainable products. Offices are one such place, where simple interventions can make a great impact. I wanted to list down a few things that you can probably try at your workplace, that’ll help lift the mood and well please the planet earth as well. Let’s jump straight at the ideas
1. Reduce Reuse Recycle
The 3 Rs can never go out of style!
Reducing the use of paper or keeping it to minimal, using carpools to reduce the use of non-renewable fuel. Switching off the lights and putting all the devices in energy-saving mode are some easy-to-follow changes.
Reusing things like water bottles, which again can be done if it is not made of plastic, tiffin boxes. Save any boxes from deliveries you receive and reuse them when sending shipments out or for storage purposes. Reusing envelopes for sending internal mail. Buying green products such as pens that can be refilled rather than sent to add to soil pollution.
The recycling method in the office can be implemented by taking simple steps like categorizing waste into glass, paper, and plastic. Using recycled paper in your printer is also something that should be encouraged. Each reused cartridge saves 2.5 pounds of metal and plastic and half a gallon of oil!
In India, you can hire specialized organizations that help you in recycling and reusing waste. Electrical and Electronic Equipment can also be reused or recycled in an eco-friendly way. I remember reading a lot about the Attero Recycling organization and the great work they are doing. Another good alternative is EwasteIndia!
2. Go Paperless
Corrections, revisions, and updates on printed documents contribute to 90% of all office waste in the US, and the remaining 10% is taking up space in storage facilities (source)
I’m sure the stats are not much different here in India. With the whole Digital India campaign gaining a lot of traction, going paperless is the one thing that should be adopted countrywide.
While going completely paperless may not be possible, we sure can make an effort to create a balance while using such products. Technology has offered us many alternatives today, and utilizing these would make our lives not just easier, but also our ways, eco-friendly!
While this may seem like a very small step, according to a study done by Catalogue Spree and PaperKarma in 2014 suggested that if just the US cuts its office paper use by just 10%, and moves to digital, it would reduce its greenhouse emissions by 1.45 million metric tons — It would be like taking 2,80,000 cars off the road for a year!
3. Plant more trees
“Psychologists at Exeter University found that employees are happier and perform better when living plants are around their workplace, with a 15% increase in productivity and significant improvements in memory retention and other basic tests.”
You get the idea, right?
So not only do plants make you happy but also keep the environment clean, and healthy. Plants can often help in reducing noise pollution in open office settings.
Just what an open space in the office needs, right?
4. Embrace Renewable Energy
With rooftop solar installations and large-scale wind farms, any kind of organization can make this easy and quick switch. In India today, there are even subsidies on getting your own solar panels. In some cases, when there is more electricity generated from your panel, the government, in turn, pays you!
Using natural light is also something that you can try. The World Green Building Council reports that employees working near sunlit windows have a 15% higher production rate. These numbers don’t lie about how we all work well together with the resources naturally available to us than artificial crutches we are so dependent on now. Check out ZunRoof, if you are in New Delhi, to cut down on your electricity bills with Solar Energy!
A Simple Window Based Solar Installation in Action
To begin with, you can always replace bulbs with LEDs, which is beneficial in saving power — it reduces power consumption and costs.
Waterless (saving) Technologies
Our offices consume a lot of water. And waste a significant portion of that in toilets and taps. There are simple alternatives like waterless urinals, low flow fixtures which consume less water but deliver better performance.
With Eco365 water taps, you can cut down almost 50% of the water used in taps. The water stream is still powerful, creating a similar number of bubbles (if you are concerned about them).
Zerodor Waterless Urinals
Water urinals are another product that saves up to 90% of the water used in urinals. An office with 1000 boys can save up to 1 Million Litres of Water from being flushed every year. Amazing, isn’t it?
A Few Other Ideas you can try in large teams:
Encourage carpooling/green commuting; can even give out gift cards to employees who have the least carbon footprint. If not very far, cycling to work is a good alternative too!
Make an Office Green Team that will inspire and encourage, and provide the rest of the employees with alternative sustainable living practices
Have monthly Green challenges; participate and educate people
Carry lunch boxes made of steel, a refillable bottle for water.
Use natural cleaning products for office hygiene
Turn of the switches and electronic equipment at the end of the day
Use cloth towels and not paper towels in washrooms
Make sure there is no leaking tap
Recycle computers/mobiles instead of discarding them
Have you already taken a few steps at your office, to make it more Eco-friendly? Share with me, I’d love to know :) More green power to us!