Following the culmination of Green Office Week, Doug Stewart, CEO of Green Energy UK, suggests ways in which workers can green up their workplace with some simple tips that won’t cost a fortune.
I recently discovered that 42 per cent of office workers believe the economic crisis has made it even more important to make the workplace sustainable, and 61 per cent would feel happier if their offices were more environmentally friendly.
With statistics like these, there’s clearly support to go green at work. The best part is this can easily be done without breaking the bank or becoming some kind of full-blown eco-warrior.
Turn it off
First things first, remember to switch things off when not in use. It sounds obvious, but offices tend to have loads of electrical appliances running at the same time – computers, phones, chargers and of course, lighting. Switching to energy-saving bulbs is a start but making it a habit to switch off anything not being used is an oh-so-simple step in the right direction to making an office greener.
Don’t forget to check appliances for their energy efficiency ratings if they are nearing the end of their life, replacing them with more efficient units will save both cash and energy in the long run.
Share and share alike
I don’t know many people who don’t love a good cuppa, but share the load and see the difference. Don’t make one tea at a time, make a round and you’ll please both the environment and workmates. If someone pops out for lunch, offer to car share and save on petrol, and try washing all pots after lunch at the same time too.
Cut it out
Next, try cutting the amount paper waste in the office – excuse the pun. Stopping printing altogether is pretty much impossible, but reducing the amount being printed and recycling paper is a good move.
Try having a designated recycling bin for all office waste (baked bean tins and coke bottles included) in a place which can easily be seen, so everyone gets into the habit of using it. You could even invest in a bright coloured one to make it even more obvious.
Unleash your creativity
Reducing the office carbon footprint might not seem like an interesting topic or prospect, but a dash of creative thinking can help. Try getting everyone to create their own personal ‘green’ spaces on their desks, or offer a prize to whoever recycles using the most innovative idea.
Going green shouldn’t be restricted to inside the office. Instead of driving every day, try cycling to work (my personal favourite) or if you’re feeling brave, walking. As a 30 minute walk can burn up to 130 calories, it’s a good, and cheap, alternative to the gym, which your wallet will thank you for.
Additionally, an initiative such as the ‘Bike 2 Work’ scheme offers employees tax breaks on the purchase of a new bike, pending an employer’s enrolment. Car sharing also saves on emissions and costs, or if you travel around London, the tube is probably the best option.
Finally, opting for a sustainable electricity provider is as easy as saying ‘green’. You’ll make a real difference by switching, and you’ll know you’re doing your bit.