How to Set Up a Green Workplace
The energy efficiencies and savings that can be made will depend on a number of factors including the size of
the building, the type of work that is carried out, the number of employees, and most of all a commitment from
management to endorse any change.
Simple things such as reducing the number of light bulbs and replacing those still needed with energy efficient
ones will cost little and take minutes to change.
Even practices such as turning computers off when not needed overnight and checking the energy efficiency of
heating and cooling systems only takes a matter of hours to audit in a large building. And if you have a leaky
building, check out green solutions to fix leaky
buildings and save cash on reducing the amount of energy required to maintain the temperature of the
Recycling of packaging material, the use of cleaning rags that can be washed for reuse and just sorting of
various wastes for their potential to be recycled will take more commitment by all staff, but may give substantial
savings over a period of time.
Setting up a workplace to look at such green options may take only one person who is prepared to examine current
practices and make recommendations to management. That person could be you!
If you go armed to superiors with the knowledge of the energy savings and lower utility and waste disposal costs
that result from eco-friendly initiatives, all personnel may get rewarded for your efforts.
Look also at introducing car-pooling schemes which may benefit you directly with fuel savings. If four people
travel in one vehicle that can save you 75% of your commute cost in a year as well as reduce mileage on your
In most workplaces the disposal of hazardous waste should be controlled to make sure it does not
pollute the environment, but look for eco-friendly cleaning chemicals to replace toxic ones where possible. There
are savings often to be made here in inventory where one cleaning agent can replace several expensive ones and
still get the job done.
Obviously some of the things that you can do at home such as improving insulation and setting timers for water
usage may not easily be duplicated in the work environment. However urinal systems can be set to use a fraction of
the water of continuous flush cisterns, and basin taps with release timers can cut water wastage here too.
One practical suggestion for bigger companies has been to introduce a green rewards scheme for staff who
contribute ideas for power and water saving and ways to cut wastage in packaging of product.
Because there are new green initiatives happening all the time and the scale of some businesses lends them more
easily to adapting methods that save money, there is the potential for all staff to have input.
In this sense setting up a green workplace should be seen as an evolutionary process that comes from all
Each area may know the potential for green action better than those who are not actively involved on a day by
day basis in that part of the office or plant. Recognizing this is a mark of effective management and even if the
only motivation is to improve the company's profit if a green result occurs then it must be welcome.
Certainly savings in energy can be made easily by bigger operations but even small workplaces can benefit by
being greener in their approach. It may not happen unless one individual starts the ball rolling and audit your own energy usage, so if you really have the planet's
interests at heart take a look around your workplace and make a list of things that can be done now!
It may just start with turning out the light as you leave.