Energy use has become a central concern amongst small business owners looking to maximise their energy efficiency. The success of energy providers like Ovo Energy show that customer satisfaction is no longer the preserve of larger utility companies, as consumers are increasingly shopping around and trying out smaller companies to get cheaper deals. Together with core office principles such as “think before printing”, these measures are helping business owners to keep bills down and contribute towards a greener environment. But is there more that you could be doing? We take a look at five more tips for a greener office.
1. Turn appliances and lights off
We are used to switching appliances off in our own homes, but all too often businesses tend to leave equipment running overnight and throughout the day when they aren’t being used. Just because you’re in the office doesn’t mean that you’re necessarily using all the equipment you have, so keep it switched off when you aren’t. It’s also easy to turn computers and related devices off at the end of the day when they’re on a connected power strip which can be turned off with a single switch.
Likewise, lights don’t have to be on just because you’re sitting at your desk. Of course you don’t want to be sitting in the dark, but if you have good natural daylight then use it. Turn all lights off at the end of the day.
2. Get re-using and recycling
Always consider if you can re-use an item before it gets thrown away. Paper, for example, can often be re-used as notepaper, and always remember to print on both sides. When it comes to recycling, it helps to have separate containers in the office, as this will ensure your team thinks twice about throwing things in the bin. Label the bins and make it clear as to what can be recycled. Don’t forget to shred important documents – but unfortunately shredded paper isn’t always accepted for recycling as the small pieces can jam machinery. Contact your council for advice if you have a lot of shredded waste and are concerned about it.
3. Buy from environmentally responsible suppliers
Make an effort and support eco-friendly companies when sourcing products, local ones if at all possible to support the local economy and cut down on transportation costs. Think about all the different products you use in the office, from cleaning products to stationery.
4. Get your team on board
Keeping your office green is easier if everyone is committed to sustainable practices. It can be helpful to hold regular meetings and remind your team regularly about the simple steps they can take in the office. Lead by example and try out new initiatives, such as paperless days. Ask your team for input and ideas. You could form a committee or draw up an action plan. You might also want to put your ideas down on paper in the form of official policies.
5. Encourage eco-friendly travel
Many workplaces offer incentives for employees to cycle to work – could this work for you? You could also float ideas such as car-sharing or contributing towards season tickets for train travel. A lot of this depends on your location and how feasible it is for people to travel in to work without their own transport – it may be more difficult if you are rurally located with a wide network of employees. What about video-conferencing to replace face-to-face meetings or flexible work from home arrangements? These can help to cut down on unnecessary travel.