10 Ways to Create a More Sustainable Office
Have you begun making changes to create a more environmentally-friendly workplace? Some business owners hesitate to “go green” because of a misconception that it can cost more money.
But realistically, practicing sustainability does not have to be difficult or expensive. Creating an eco-friendly workplace benefits the planet and lessens operating expenses in the long run, and you can start implementing these changes one innovative step at a time.
In this blog, we’ll discuss practical ways to create a more sustainable office environment.
1. Switch to LED Lighting
Making the switch to LED lighting is an easy upgrade and will save your business money in the end. LED lights do not contain mercury, making them better for the earth. LED lights use significantly less energy than older light fixtures and have a longer lifespan.
That means LED lighting will reduce monthly electricity costs and require less maintenance over the lifetime of the fixtures. When you switch, ask if your electric company offers rebate programs that could save you even more money.
And thanks to smart technology, your business can create a custom light solution that works for you, such as using occupancy sensors to turn lights on and off or timers set for a daily or weekly off time.
2. Create a flexible office design
If you’re remodeling, rebranding, or updating your office interior in any way, aim to set things up with the flexibility to reconfigure the office as time goes on. As employee or client needs change, it makes sense to have a design you can adapt to suit those shifting needs.
The more ways your furniture can work for you and your employees, the more sustainable it is. One good example is having furniture on casters, both tables and chairs, which makes it easy to move furniture around your space as needed.
If you’re looking for additional guidance on how to accomplish this and your business is based in Lancaster or Reading, PA or the greater Philadelphia area, reach out to our experienced team at Furniture Soup. We offer commercial space planning and design services and are happy to help you implement a flexible office design that allows sustainability.
3. Consider purchasing used furniture
“Fast fashion” has been in the vocabulary of eco-conscious shoppers for years now as something to avoid, but “fast furniture” may not have gained as much buzz yet. When things are not built to last, they end up in the landfill a lot sooner. The EPA estimates that 9 million tons of furniture are tossed into the landfill each year. Yikes.
Purchasing quality furniture made from environmentally-friendly substances is important so that the items will last long-term. And much like purchasing secondhand clothing is a friendly nod to the environment, opting to buy used furniture is another way to give Mother Earth a break.
At commercial office furniture supplier Furniture Soup, our inventory includes a selection of quality used furniture online and additional pieces in our showroom in Reading, PA. When it comes time to swap out of your office furniture, consider donating it to a local non-profit organization or liquidated by your furniture company if they offer pre-owned furniture to their clients.
4. Plan monthly “green” challenges
Inspire employees to find more ways to help the environment by hosting monthly competitions, such as going plastic-free for an entire month. Reward people with prizes like gift cards or the option to go home early.
For the long-haul, encourage employees to bring lunch to work in reusable containers instead of creating more plastic trash by getting takeout or support vendors that use more earth-friendly take-out food packaging.
5. Give the thermostat a break
Is your workplace so cold that everyone dresses for winter, even in the middle of summer? Air conditioning is a gift for sure, but some offices overdo it.
To be more sustainable, consider increasing the thermostat set point to allow more comfort and reduce energy use. Seemingly small adjustments like this can and do make a difference over time.
6. Go paperless
As school districts embrace going paperless by sending fewer papers home with students, offices can go the same route. Keep files digital when possible and avoid printing unless absolutely necessary. If your company hasn’t already, switch to digital payments for your own bills and billing clients to cut back on paper, save trees, and save energy.
To kick things off, have a designated recycling day to ensure everyone cleans out the file cabinets. Have a shredding or recycling company come to the site to take care of the paper that is no longer needed.
7. Incorporate plants
Putting plants in your workplace is an easy and economical way to improve indoor air quality and beautify space. Plants produce oxygen that can offset any airborne chemicals circulating through the office.
If you want to go big, add a “living” wall of greenery or larger-scale plants. Vertical gardens and maintenance-free moss walls are trending for a good reason. People want to work in inspired spaces, and these features help spur creativity and productivity while purifying the air and even improving acoustics.
8. Provide central recycle bins
Another office trend that we see in environmentally-savvy teams is the removal of individual recycling bins at each office in favor of one centralized recycling bin in the room. This saves space and gives employees the chance to take micro-breaks to stand up and utilize the recycling bins – a healthy walk for a little more movement and a little less screen time.
9. Encourage commuting
Consider offering incentives for employees who carpool, utilize public transit, bicycle, or walk to work. Doing so will help lower emissions and reduce your business’s carbon footprint.
10. Choose furniture made from sustainable materials
When upgrading your office furniture, choose pieces made from sustainable materials and try to source them locally. Check to make sure you are not buying furniture and accessories made from hazardous materials. While it may feel overwhelming to make everything in your workspace sustainably-sourced all at once, start by focusing on one product in the office. For example, if you need new office chairs, seek to replace those with a sustainable version.
The LEED program, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, has nine different rating systems for sustainable green practices in commercial and residential design and construction that are further broken down by types of credits and the number of points awarded. LEED certification recognizes companies that are preserving and improving the environment. When it comes to purchasing furniture, one incentive they offer is awarding points for furniture shopped within 500 miles of the site – rather than imported or delivered cross-country.
Furniture Soup: A Commercial Office Furniture Supplier with Sustainability in Mind Serving Lancaster, PA; Reading, PA; and the Greater Philadelphia Area
Furniture Soup wants to help every business create a more sustainable workplace. We are proud to offer financing options to help our clients achieve their goals of going green.
Whether you are a large or small business, if you are wondering how to create a more environmentally-friendly office, we are here to help! Check out what our awesome clients say about our work and contact us today to get started.