Clean Tech: Bring It Into the Office

Going green is a rather burning topic, but so far no global solutions have been introduced. Judging by the multitude of agendas, a universal approach is nowhere near being realized, so it’s up to every individual to do what they can to help the global efforts that are dragging their feet.

First of all, not all the helpful changes diminish comforts — the main argument why people are reluctant to change their ways. Many of them are actually beneficial in the long run, and cheaper as well.

But, truth be told, many people are undereducated in this matter, so the first thing to do is — educate yourself so you can make informed decisions and calculations.

Green Offices Make the Workforce Happier

Going green is a certain way to make the employees happier and much more engaged. Contrary to popular belief, this huge transition begins with small steps, with no need for major, expensive changes.

In fact, the first thing to do is to choose an office space with more natural light and paint the walls in light colors. Using CFLs or LED bulbs comes next in line. With merely these couple of steps, your office space will become considerably more pleasant for everyone.

Many studies show that eco-friendly offices help boost employee productivity and satisfaction. Exposure to natural and white light has been shown to be directly linked with better sleep, which is, in turn, linked to better productivity the following day.

In addition, the fact of the matter that some businesses tend to forget is that people are not interested only in hefty salaries anymore. Modern people find great satisfaction in making a difference where it matters, and it does matter in case of going green.

Happy Worker
Illustration by Anastasia Golub via Dribbble

Environmental sustainability is one of the hottest topics among people worldwide. With more and more cases of environmental damage and accompanying disasters, it is certain that even more people will be joining the cause.

That’s why business leaders must inspire and engage the workforce by providing them with the office space they need.

Shortly put, making the green agenda a common cause is the right way.

Finally, a recent study shows that 75% of millennials have no issues with pay cuts if the money will be used to make the office space more eco-friendly.

Learn More About Clean Tech

Ironically, you can even look up this topic online and find a number of courses dealing with clean tech. Look for trusted sources, though; not some instant-course prepared by a guy with the big idea to earn big money overnight by compiling the best from trusted sources.

One of the many advantages of eLearning is that there are quality courses for nearly any topic, and the green agenda is not an exception. More and more reputable institutions are offering online courses for the wide public, because the matter concerns everyone. Start with them.

Don’t Fall Victim to Consumerism

The biggest problem with pretty much anything in life is — consumerism. The endless race to earn more money so that we can buy more expensive items that we don’t necessarily need is the illness of our time.

Once you understand you don’t need the newest smartphone model if you already have a perfectly functioning last year’s model, you’ll realize you don’t really need to waste that much money on things you don’t really need.

The same approach applies to every other device and gadget, not to mention — cars. Calculate the annual losses invoked by this kind of mindset, and you’ll see how you can live quite well without overworking yourself if you don’t buy a new iPhone every year. Apply the same approach to all other devices and, then, to all other products.

Disposables are a good example. While it may appear more convenient to throw a bag or a plastic glass after one use, in truth, there is no reason why you wouldn’t use a glass mug and simply wash it after each use. It takes, what? 10 seconds of your time?

Buying less and buying only the products you need is the starting point of going green. In terms of business owners, they can consume less packaging, ditch disposables, use eco-friendly devices, and educate the workforce.

Bring Plants Into the Office

Bring plants into office
Illustration by Type08 (Alen Pavlovic) via Dribbble

The simplest solution can sometimes make a huge difference, and this matter is no exception. For example, bringing a plant into the office can help with a variety of things — feeling better not being the least important.

While there are no rules when it comes to this option — you can bring a plant that you like — you should still take into account the conditions of the office. Some plants are more adaptable than others; some plants that are commonly found in offices include devil’s ivy, snake plants, succulents, ZZ plants, peace lily, jade plants and bamboos.

Take your pick!

Do Electric

For business owners, there are federal incentives for EV chargers, so you can encourage employees to switch to electric vehicles (EV) while helping them make the transition at the same time.

Maintenance costs for an EV are 40% lower than maintenance costs for a gas-powered vehicle of a similar size. There is also the cost of fuel to consider — some stats show that lifetime fueling costs for an EV are $3,000 to $10,500 cheaper in the long run.

As for the incentives mentioned above, the credit starts at $2,500 and can reach up to $7,500. It is calculated based on the battery capacity (at least 5 kWh). For every kWh of battery capacity in excess of 5 kWh, $417 is added to the credit.

Look at Your Equipment

Updating to the latest equipment is also recommended. This can, admittedly, be somewhat more expensive, but if you’re clever about it, you’ll actually end up saving quite a bit. For one thing, look for multifunction machines.

E.g., instead of buying a printer, a copy machine and a scanning machine, buy one multifunction device. A simple calculation will show you that this is a cheaper option, even though a multifunction printer is more expensive than a standard printer.

Next, use refills used ink and toner cartridges instead of buying new cartridges.

Keep computers and monitors updated. Newer models are more energy-efficient than older models, and they are also lighter. Just think a couple of years back when we needed a bodybuilder to help us move a monitor and TV.

At a Glance

  • Replace traditional printers with multifunction printers so as to not use multiple machines for multiple purposes. Choose among the printers with energy-saving features as this is a long-term investment.
  • Refill used ink and toner cartridges instead of buying new ones.
  • Print on both sides of a sheet and use recycled paper only.
  • Buy green office supplies where applicable. For example, consider using staple-less staplers and pens that can be refilled.
  • Use recycled plastic products instead of classic plastic products that cannot be replaced.
  • Recycle used office supplies.
  • Keep computers and monitors updated. Newer models are more energy-efficient than older models.
  • Turn off computers when they’re not in use and turn off the lights when leaving the office.
  • Replace standard bulbs with CFLs or LED bulbs. They use approximately 75% less energy than standard light bulbs.
  • Paint the office walls in light colors. In this way, you’ll need less lighting.
  • Use cloth towels and hand dryers instead of paper towels.
  • Use eco-friendly cleaning products only.
  • Finally, consider eco-packaging instead of classic packaging.

Pro tip: instead of throwing your old computers, look up e-Steward. This initiative will carry off your old equipment, and disassemble and recycle the materials.

Ditch the Paper

Paper recycling is not a novel idea; in fact, it has been around for decades. However, the development of new technologies has given rise to some new practices, so now we can do a lot more to ditch paper for good.

Don’t forget to use mobile devices for meetings as there really is no need to print voluminous agendas for every participant when they can use Google Docs.

A similar approach can be applied to plastic, although some plastic products still don’t have an alternative. Still, every little bit counts, so buy refillable office supplies and recycle them when their time comes, and use recycled plastic products when plastics cannot be replaced.

Lastly, replace standard bulbs with CFLs or LED bulbs, which use 75% less energy than standard light bulbs. Add to that the habit to turn off lights and computers when they’re not in use.

If you do all that, you’ll contribute to the green agenda greatly.

Don’t be afraid to experiment. Start with small steps, such as choosing an office space with more natural light, painting the walls in light colors, using CFLs or LED bulbs, and grow your efforts from there.

Engage the workforce: ask for ideas and make everyone part of the process. This will give the employees a sense of common cause and make them part of a bigger picture, boosting their satisfaction at the same time.

About the Author!

Angela Ash is an expert content writer, editor and marketer, and she works with Flow SEO, founded by well-known SEO specialist, Viola Eva. She writes on a multitude of topics, but places special importance on content marketing, SEO, productivity, employee engagement, remote teams and business applications.

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