By Linda Trim, Director, Giant Leap
Sustainability is the new buzzword – both at work, and at home. Consumers are quickly going ‘green’, and are demanding that companies do as well. Naturally, no company can claim to be environmentally friendly if their own premises do not reflect a thoughtful approach to living and working.
In addition to bringing practices in line with principles, a greener workplace will mean a lighter ecological footprint, a healthier and more productive place to work, and in the long term, greater profitability. So if you’re the boss or the employee, whether your office is green already or still undergoing transformation, you can take some simple and practical steps to lay the groundwork for a healthy, earth-friendly and sustainable workspace.
At Giant Leap, we have gathered a few pointers to get you started on the pathway to green – whilst at the same time keeping everyone happy, productive and inspired!
· Water-wise: Measures such as dual flush toilets, waterless urinals, and moisture sensors in landscaping can help to cut a company’s water usage by up to 30%.
· Using concrete slabs in the construction of an office building can lower a company’s energy consumption by as much as 25%, due to the slab being able to moderate temperature changes indoors, along with double-glazing of glass windows and doors to increase insulation from the outdoor elements.
· Sophisticated lighting enhancement systems can drive diffused light deep into the building while minimizing glare and heat gain. These systems typically provide enough illumination for 75 % of employees to work by daylight alone, minimising use of electric fixtures, reducing loads on heating and cooling equipment, and helping create a more comfortable, pleasant environment.
· By using recycled materials in the construction of the building and being able to recycle as much building waste as possible, the building is able to keep its carbon footprint down to a minimum.
· A work environment where employees are able to see outdoors at all times helps boost their moral and increase their daily productivity. Also, having windows that employees can open and close at their own discretion so that fresh air is available at all time, making the building and the work environment a healthier place where employees are able to feel mentally and physically better and able to perform at higher levels.
· Locate office buildings within walking distance to public transport. Businesses can lower their overall carbon footprint by encouraging employees to leave their cars at home and use the public transport provided.
· The more you do online, the less you need paper. Keep files on computers instead of in file cabinets (this also makes it easier to make offsite backup copies or take them with you when you move to a new office). Also, review documents onscreen rather than printing them out and send emails instead of paper letters. New software helps eliminate blank pages from documents before printing and can also convert to PDF for paperless document sharing. (treehugger)
· Bringing lunch to work in reusable containers is likely the greenest (and healthiest) way to eat at work. Getting delivery and takeout almost inevitably ends with a mountain of packaging waste. But if you do order delivery, join coworkers in placing a large order (more efficient than many separate ones). Also, bring in a reusable plate, utensils, and napkins. If you do go out for lunch, try biking or walking instead of driving. (treehugger)