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A Greener Workplace

Many of the same measures that improve a building's energy performance also boost productivity by enhancing the comfort of occupants. For building owners, better management of existing systems can produce immediate savings: better temperature control, use of non-toxic cleaners, and improved indoor air quality can help tenants reduce losses from employee absenteeism due to illness. A comfortable environment can help attract and retain tenants. For employers, better management of energy use for office equipment
and efficient lighting are energy-smart practices that will deliver immediate payback with little or no cost to your business.

  • Efficient Lighting


    Building owners and tenants can save with sensors so that lights in sporadically used spaces turn off automatically when not in use.

    Replace low efficiency lighting with higher efficiency LEDs, halogen, or fluorescent bulbs. Click here for EPA fact sheet on CFLs

  • HVAC Tuneup

    HVAC System – Building Owners

    Schedule heating and cooling systems to operate during pre-determined hours.

    Use natural heating and ventilation if possible.

    Set the system a degree or two warmer in the summer and a degree or two cooler in the winter.

    Clean filters regularly and have your system tuned annually by a licensed contractor.

    When it's time to replace your old equipment, choose a high efficiency model, and make sure it is properly sized and installed.

  • Smart Power Management

    Power Management

    Office equipment and electronics use energy even when idle or on stand-by.

    To save energy at work, activate the power management features on your computer and monitor, unplug laptop power cords when not in use and turn off equipment and lights at the end of the day.

    Use a power strip that can be turned off when you're done using your computers, printers, wireless routers and other electronics.

  • Energy Star

    When It's Time To Replace...

    When buying new products for your office, look for ENERGY STAR qualified equipment such as computers, copiers, and printers. More than 40 product categories, including lighting, heating and cooling equipment and commercial appliances have listings.

    If your locale supports electronics recycling, find out how you can participate.

  • Waste Reduction

    Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

    Employers and employees: for your old electronics, investigate leasing programs to ensure re-use and recycling or donate used equipment.

    Use two-sided printing and copying; buy supplies made with recycled content; and recycle used printer cartridges.

    Prevent wasted paper by setting your printer to use the "Print Preview" feature before printing.

  • Recycling Bins

    Provide Recycling Bins

    Building owners: reducing, reusing, and recycling helps conserve energy, and reduces pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from resource extraction, manufacturing, and disposal.

    Provide bins for recycling paper, bottles, cans and cardboard.

    Save money when you reduce paper waste! Post notices in a common area and/or send via email to reduce paper use.

  • Greener Cleaning Supplies

    Cleaning Supplies

    Switch to products that are non-toxic. Buy in bulk to minimize packaging.

    Building owners: ask your cleaning service to use eco-friendly products and paper products with recycled content.

  • Saving with Solar

    Use Renewable Energy

    Building owners are saving money with solar energy and greenroofs, while improving air quality. Covering the roof with ground cover plantings helps mitigate the urban heat island effect, and reduces energy needs inside the building.

    Find out about renewable energy incentives in your state:

    Find more about greenroofs at:
    US EPA website

  • Greener in the Kitchen

    Office Kitchen

    Get greener by buying items made from compostable and/or recycled materials, and buy in bulk to minimize packaging.

    Or, avoid using disposable plates and utensils by providing dishes and utensils that can be washed.

  • Commute or Telecommute?


    Could you switch — at least part of the week — to carpooling, biking, public transportation, or telecommuting?

    Encourage your employer to enroll in
    Best Workplaces for Commuters - a public/private program managed to address parking and traffic congestion, and minimize environmental impacts associated with drive-alone commuting.

    Visit to find info about lower emission, fuel efficient vehicles when it's time to replace your vehicle.

  • Create Awareness by Sharing the Plan


    Let everyone know that you're making changes to reduce your impact on the environment.

    If you're an employer, provide information to help employees conserve at home as well as the office: post information about mortgage subsidies for energy-efficient homes, fuel efficient vehicle purchasing, composting, and recyling in the community.

For Building Owners:

Start with existing standards and guidelines for energy-efficient workplaces. As part of its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program, the U.S. Green Building Council offers rating systems for Commercial Interiors and Existing Buildings that directly address energy use in tenant spaces. Click here to visit the LEED website

Once you have a basic understanding of these tools, your next step should be to conduct a comprehensive assessment of your energy and office product use. Any such assessment should be designed to raise energy-use awareness throughout the organization and should also consider sustainable strategies that are less harmful to the environment than your current practices. Forms for data collection can be found at the Energy Information Administration website: click here to find out more...

For Tenants, Employers, and Employees:

It's still a good idea to start with the LEED program information. While the systems were developed for use by design professionals and building owners and managers, becoming familiar with their respective categories and methodology can be helpful. The U.S. D.O.E. Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) program also has useful resources for commerical and residential buildings.
Click here to visit the EERE website

Obviously, changes to a building's maintenance and operation program will require the cooperation of the building owner. However, actual cost savings from reduced energy use and environmental improvements to workspaces almost always translate into happier tenants and a more marketable commercial space — a win-win for building owners and tenants alike.

With a basic understanding of the LEED rating systems, you can develop a list of energy-saving and product-substitution opportunities; obviously, each organization will have its own list, tailored to its own circumstances.

Spread The Word!

Talk with your colleagues, associates, and/or employees about company strategies to save energy and reduce waste. If you're an employer, consider a program to reward employees who come up with new ideas to save energy.

Everyone wins with a sustainable approach to business practices!

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