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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: http://www.dsireusa.org/
Find more about greenroofs at:
US EPA website
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.
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 fueleconomy.gov to find info about lower emission, fuel efficient vehicles when it's time to replace your vehicle.
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.
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!
What's My Carbon Footprint? click
here to visit our carbon calculator