When you work in an office, there are a thousand things that need your attention- office upkeep, staff scheduling, unforeseen problems, and, of course, the office work itself! Even though it’s incredibly important, reducing your office’s carbon footprint might not be on the top of your to-do list. Don’t worry, though, we’ve done the work for you- here are ten ways to reduce carbon footprint in the office!
- Measure your carbon footprint
By learning how big your office’s carbon footprint is, you can figure out how much work is needed to offset it. There are dozens of business carbon footprint calculators available, one of which you can find here. Use your calculations as a baseline when trying out carbon reduction methods and check every time you do something new to see if your results have improved- this will allow you to see which measures are most effective.
- Add some greenery
What better way to reduce carbon emissions than share your space with something that will absorb them? Plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen when they respire, perfectly mirroring us and improving air quality. While many offices feature the occasional plant on a desk or in the corner, why not add a feature that will drastically improve your emission levels and look beautiful at the same time? Our indoor living walls can be added to almost any office space, and provide visual and environmental freshness wherever they’re installed.
- Don’t forget the outside
The outside of the building is still part of your office, and is probably used more often than you think. Employees walk to and from the building every day, park their cars outside, eat lunch outside in nice weather, and go on walks or take breaks outside on a daily basis. Your building also affects the local biosphere, so it’s important to help the nearby wildlife when you can. Installing features like an outdoor living wall or green roof can improve your employees’ work experience and simultaneously support local flora and fauna.
- LED lightbulbs
LED lightbulbs use 40% less power than fluorescent bulbs and 80% less power than incandescent bulbs. It’s estimated that the use of LED lighting reduced CO2 emissions by 570 million tonnes in 2017, reducing the global carbon footprint by 1.5%. This staggering difference between LED and traditional lightbulbs will be a great asset in reducing your carbon footprint, and also help you save on your office electricity bill.
- Using heat in a smart way
When’s the last time you checked what temperature the office thermostat is set to? Chances are, it’s higher than it needs to be at least some of the time. Lowering the temperature while the office is empty (at times like evenings and weekends) will reduce the office carbon footprint without affecting anyone’s comfort. You can reduce the temperature manually at the end of every day, or utilise built-in features that most thermostats have and programme it to lower automatically. You can find a great guide to using your thermostat in an eco-friendly (and budget-friendly) way here.
- Turn off things that aren’t being used
It’s clear if you don’t turn off a light before leaving for the day, but do you check the other office appliances? The best way to know if something’s turned off is to unplug it. You can do this with lights, power strips, computers, projectors, and kitchen appliances, among other things. Turning off items entirely will save a lot of power compared to leaving them on standby. Over time, these small savings will add up to a big reduction in your carbon footprint.
- Reduce paper usage
How much paper does your office go through on a daily basis? Is it all necessary? Changing how you use paper is one of the most direct ways of reducing carbon footprint in business, and with good reason. We have less need for paper copies of documents in the digital age, but a lot of offices still print out everything for filing and back-up purposes. If your office is like this, it’s time to look into digital solutions such as cloud storage. If you do need to print, make sure it’s double-sided.
- Recycle as much as possible
Most offices’ first step in reducing their carbon footprint is paper recycling. It’s a great place to start if you haven’t already, but not where your work should end. These days, there are so many office staples apart from paper that can be recycled, and so few offices that recycle them. Objects like mobile phones, ink cartridges, and old office technology can all be recycled. If you don’t know where how to recycle these objects, talk to your rubbish collection company or local government- you can also find charities that will take old mobile phones and electrical objects for recycling purposes.
- Educate your employees
Everyone has their own way of working, and some people will care more about their carbon footprint than others. Get all your employees on the same page by having a discussion or seminar on the office’s ecological stance and how that should be implemented in everyone’s workflow. There may be office workers who hadn’t considered the office’s carbon footprint, or simply didn’t know how to reduce it. Educating your workforce and informing them of your intentions will help everyone to work together on lowering emission levels.
- Hiring telecommuters and freelancers
Telecommuters and freelancers not only save on emissions by using less electricity in the office, they also save by not embarking on a daily commute. You might find that some positions can be filled completely by freelancers, or that you need telecommuters to come to the office once a week. Consider how many office positions really need to be office positions- what is it about the work that means it can’t be done from home? If you can’t answer this question, it might be time to consider alternative employment options.
Reducing an individual’s carbon footprint can be challenging enough- attempting to do this for an entire office can appear almost impossible! But by breaking down this large goal into the ten smaller items in this list, you’ll be able to offset your business’ carbon emissions in an easy and sustainable manner.