To get started going green with your business we thought we would work from the outside in to discuss tips and ideas on how to best help the environment through your company and company office. It is also the most obvious and notable way to go green – that is, designing and building an environmentally friendly office.

Reduce Industrial Greenhouse EmissionsLEED Architectural Office Design

Many new and existing companies are pursuing LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) architectural design and certification for their office building construction. Several businesses are also pursuing it for tax incentives and/or to meet government mandated regulations. LEED certification may require more of an upfront cost, but its return is significant, for the business and the environment, mutually. Also, many socially minded businesses are just pursuing environmental construction without going after the certification itself.
When constructing the office building, look for ways to use sustainable, recycled, and local materials (whether the parts are plastic, wood, or metal). When constructing the office, always look for ways to reduce energy consumption and emission of pollutants. Renovating, annexing or reusing parts of a standing building’s shell or frame is also a good way to conserve resources and energy. Look for office furniture liquidations to take advantage of plug and play lease options, where all the great condition used office furniture is already there waiting for you.

WHA227Buy Used Office Furnishings

Remember, not only is there energy involved in construction, but also the fabrication of the material resources themselves. Reusing office furniture by buying used is a great way to not only save big on cost but also conserve the energy that would otherwise go into making the materials.

Conserve Space

One item that most people do not think about is reusing land. While the key to business may be “location location location,” one should also be on the lookout for a good deal on land that is deemed unusable for crops, cattle or other common purposes but that would be adequate for your office. This may include land where wastes are buried, near an airport, etc. On that note, think about going up with your building plans rather than out. Vertical square footage is just as good as horizontal, and preserves the ecosystem around us from the adverse effects of habitat consuming sprawl. From a brand perception standpoint, a higher building can also be perceived as adding more equity to your brand than a flat warehouse styled building. Installing an office furniture system like workstations or cubicles that maximizes your usable space is also recommended as a smart approach to being environmentally conscious.

Ventilation

Have your architect pay attention to the prevailing wind in the area. The wind can be used to help ventilate your building if captured with the right building shape, number and angle of windows, and ventilation orientation and flow.

Lighting

Similarly, natural lighting streaming in from glass walls and skylights can add a touch of style and save a lot of energy for not only lighting but heating as well. Installing an energy efficient lighting system on the interior, exterior, and parking lot can save money in the long run, cut down on energy consumption, save time replacing and hassling with inefficient, flickering bulbs.

Green Initiative Office FurnitureAmenities

If your business resides in a larger office building, or if you’re currently looking for a good location, try finding a way to keep necessary everyday amenities close or within your office building. This includes restaurants and cafes for business luncheons, a grocery or general store, a FedEx Kinkos or UPS (or package delivery box), maybe even a gym if you’re lucky. The idea is to save on employee commute during work hours to run errands. It’s also a good idea for networking within the office building to have this added convenience. Think about planning for shared restrooms, food courts, or even shared Wifi / conference areas with your office cohorts.

Solar Panels

Alternative and clean energy sources are a great (but sometimes expensive way) to promote environmental friendliness. Solar panel technology, durability, efficiency, and usage have greatly increased in the past few years, so looking into it nowadays can be a profitable investment even for smaller businesses. After all, it can’t be that much harder than installing your DirectTV dish, right? While you’re up there you might as well go ahead and install some sunshine power for your office.

Simple Things

Lower ceilings are great at conserving. Heat and cooling costs are less, floor story height is less so more floors can be added to the building, and the radius becomes more effective for wireless servers. Using regular doors or standard revolving doors that you push instead of automatic doors is also an easy way to conserve power. Orienting office technology such as printers, computers, and peripherals in an efficient manner helps to conserve electricity, space, (and wiring to an extent). Consider if your office is laid out in a manner that balances aesthetics with practicality. Are your outlets scattered without need? Could you get away with placing 5 security cameras instead of 23 by being smarter about the layout? Ask your architect if placing elevators on the same side or plumbing through a certain area would be better at conserving resources, energy, and space.

More eco-friendly tips to come with our next article on how you can go green with your office furniture.

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