Earth Day 2015: Green Your Office!

Posted by Heidi Schwartz

In honor of Earth Day, April 22, 2015, Green Seal is offering some simple ways facility managers can green their offices.

Green Seal logo. Ensuring that office operations are sustainable—including such practices as double-sided copying, using occupancy sensors for lighting, and enabling sleep mode for electronics products—not only helps the environment but also saves businesses money. Businesses that implement proper recycling and use recycled materials have the added benefit of encouraging employees to be more efficient with other office expenses and activities. Sustainable practices can also be a marketing benefit for offices in retaining and recruiting staff as well as improve corporate social responsibility.

Here are some other tips Green Seal offers for a greener office:

  • Recycle whenever possible, including paper, plastics, aluminum, and glass (whatever is recyclable in your location)
  • Make double-sided printing the default for all printing and copying
  • Appoint a Green Leader to assist in training and education of staff
  • Train current and new employees on proper office green practices and procedures
  • Purchase paper-based products that are made with recycled content
  • Stock the kitchen with reusable options such as glasses, mugs, plates, and utensils
  • Buy products in bulk or try refillable options
  • Purchase third-party certified environmentally preferable products
  • Make transportation to and from work part of the greening process by offering pre-tax withdrawals for public transport, have bike racks available, or create a carpool program

Additional areas for greening your office include programs for waste reduction; IT equipment and management; and training and education for staff.

If you want to formalize the process of greening your office and gain recognition for it, Green Seal offers a Green Office Partnership Program. As part of the program, a trained specialist from Green Seal evaluates the office’s operations either in person or virtually through web conferencing. Following the evaluation, each office is assessed against a set of mandatory and optional criteria; Green Seal provides recommendations on ways that the office could further integrate sustainable practices into their daily operations, such as by developing environmentally-preferable purchasing policies. For more information go to Green Office Partnership.