Choosing a LEED and ENERGY STAR certified workplace is a critical step towards a more sustainable workplace, but your efforts don’t need to end there. Small changes, like opting for LED task lighting or simplifying recycling, can make a major impact on your company’s carbon footprint. In addition to the operational cost savings, your business will benefit from improved employee wellness and stronger employer branding.
These are six simple options for greening your workplace:
Opt for LED task lighting
Inefficient artificial lighting can use significant electricity. Augment your building’s existing natural daylight with low-energy, LED task lighting. To further enhance your lighting, consider upgrading to programming light fixtures that sync with circadian rhythms, optimizing employee alertness and facilitating healthy sleep cycles.
Reduce your office equipment power loads
A single laptop computer can use 4.5 kilowatt-hours of electricity even when it’s fully charged, simply because the computer is still plugged in. While that may not seem like a lot, when you add all your computers, Inkjet printers and fax machines together, these machines could be contributing to significant energy waste. When possible, choose ENERGY STAR labeled office equipment, which can provide up to 75 percent energy savings for some products according to Energy.gov. Remind employees to unplug equipment or turn off their power strips when they leave each day.
Reduce your paper trail
Going 100 percent digital may not be practical for your business, you can still minimize paper use. The World Wildlife Federation (WWF) recommends setting the default on your printer and copier to double-sided. Your business can also opt for thinner paper and encourage employees to reuse paper if only a short document is printed on one side.
From plastic bottles to cardboard to paper, your business and employees may produce a fair amount of waste each day that can be recycled. Access matters; when convenient options abound, employees are more like to recycle. Make recycling easy with the strategic addition of bins and cans throughout your office space, including in busy common areas. If you have a small kitchen area, provide coffee mugs, plates and utensils as an alternative to paper plates and plastic utensils.
Purify your air
Indoor air quality can substantially impact employee productivity. Harvard research finds cleaner air quality is correlated with a boost in cognitive performance and a reduction in sick-building symptoms. One option is to bring air-purifying greenery into your office through potted plants or living walls. The impact of cleaner air in combination with the calming aesthetic impact of plants can lower employee stress levels and improve their concentration and productivity.
Consider your broader community ecosystem
Your company’s sustainability initiatives can extend beyond your immediate workplace. From EV charging stations to bike share access, consider how your workplace helps green your employees’ daily commute. Easy access to services like healthy food options, a coffee shop or dry cleaning not only simplifies your employees’ day but also minimizes their carbon footprints.