How green are you and your team at work?
The good news is that it is never too late to make a start on becoming more sustainable and aware of your office environment. Encouraged by our Managing Director, Sim Hall, Populus Select have made an autumn resolution to make small changes to how we work and take ownership of our actions and usage within the working environment.
Firstly, let’s start with what is going green?
Thai Union Group who won an award for corporate sustainability in 2017 summarised it as “minimising the negative impact and maximising the positive impact of the associations activities on the environment and contributing positively to the sustainable development.” (1)
Whether you are motivated by your impact on the environment, or whether you simply want to cut your costs by saving on the energy and resources that your organisation uses this insight will hopefully be a good starting point.
Here are our autumn resolutions and ways to encourage a sustainable office environment;
Make sure there are enough paper recycling bins around the office and a kitchen recycling bin for any glass and plastics.
- Create monthly green challenges
Monthly team challenges can be a fun way of combining competition and going green. For example, you can challenge the office to go a month with no plastic eating utensils. At Populus Select we are pledging to go a month without using any plastics.
- Turn off electronics, lighting, and heat every evening
Do you turn everything off in the office(s) at night?
Turning off all equipment at the main plug every night can save your energy consumption and your bills. According to Optimal Monitoring (2), office equipment is the fastest growing energy user in the business world, consuming 15% of the total electricity used in offices. This is expected to rise to 30% by 2020. Annually, the cost of running this equipment is around £300m in the UK alone and this is increasing every year.
If someone forgets to turn their laptop, lights or the printer off, you could have a green jar in which the person places a small penalty which gets donated to an environmental fund.
- Sustainable office products
There may not be room in your budget to buy exclusively sustainable products, but you can focus on certain areas that have a huge overall impact, such as more efficient electronics and cleaning products in the kitchen.
- Embrace renewable energy
Green power sources, including solar and wind energy, are more accessible than ever, with options including rooftop solar installations and large-scale wind farms. Organisations of any size can make this switch.
If your business is located in a deregulated electricity state, one easy way to make your office greener is to shop for your electricity supplier and choose a green energy plan. Every electricity supplier offers green energy plans that are generated by renewable energy sources, primarily wind and solar. These green electricity plans are priced very competitively compared to traditional electricity plans powered by coal or natural gas.
- Lay off the thermostat
Consider your office environment and temperature
As stated by the University of Cambridge Green Challenge, a 2°C increase in office temperature creates enough CO2 in a year to fill a hot air balloon. (3)
Workplaces are often over-air conditioned in the summer months and over heated in the winter months. Considering the set point of your thermostat and your entire office energy use is a great starting point. Little adjustments done with intention, build positive habits that make a difference over time, even in smaller offices.
- Go paperless
The greenest paper is no paper at all.
The over-use of paper has a huge impact on a company’s carbon footprint – not just from the chopping down of trees to make the paper, but also on the fossil fuel power used for printing, and the chemicals involved, too. To produce just one ton of paper, it is estimated that 253 gallons of petrol is used. In turn, to make just one piece of A4 paper requires 10 litres of water. It is therefore clearly evident that going paperless is good for the environment.
Considerations are to print less; store all files electronically; and send important documents to a digital document sending solution.
- Bring some nature in to the office
A plant or two around the office can improve indoor air quality and bring some nature into the office environment. Plants produce more oxygen, offsetting any chemicals released into the air by new office furniture and making a cleaner, happier space for your people to work in.
- Maximize natural light
The World Green Building Council (4) reports that employees working near sunlit windows have a 15% higher production rate. This is a great example of how environmental benefits such as using less energy – can also have a dramatic impact on the bottom line by improving employee productivity and reducing absenteeism, staff turnover and medical costs.
Relying more on natural light when possible also saves energy, replacing all lighting fixtures with LEDs, as well as incorporating sensors and timers for office lighting is a fantastic way you will reduce energy consumption and costs on things like utility bills.
- Encourage green commuting
Companies can encourage employees to lower commuting emissions by walking, biking, carpooling, or taking public transport to the office, and offering incentives to do so.
Offering work-from-home policies can also reduce your company’s carbon footprint. Sim Hall, Populus Select MD is aware of this and supports green commuting and policies to lower all staffs carbon footprint within the office.
To keep up to date with our own Populus Select ‘Green’ initiatives sign up to our monthly newsletter via email@example.com