4 Ways to Make Your Office More Green
We want to talk a bit about the environment, and what we've been doing to make the GWS Office a more eco-friendly environment. We hope we can offer some tips to others on this very important subject, and perhaps you can tell us what you've been doing to make your office a greener place.
Office Design. When we moved to our new offices, we worked with a very talented local interior design company Design Rock who specialise in sustainable interior design. As a result of this connection we made the decision to install bamboo flooring throughout our new space, an all-round fantastic alternative to hardwood, and to decorate using organic atmosphere purifying paint. As bamboo is a grass (actually the fastest growing woody plant on the planet) it only take 3-5 years to mature enough to be made into flooring (as opposed to the 20 years a tree would take), which means it is much more sustainable. Moreover, bamboo is a better choice for flooring in general as it is one of the hardest natural materials available. The paint that Design Rock recommended contains silicates that permanently absorb and neuralise pollutants (air in homes and offices can be 70 times more polluted than outside, and contains a mix of solvents an chemicals, such as formaldehyde from carpets, furnishings etc). Both choices look great and give our office a smart, modern look.
Energy Consumption. More recently we made the decision to switch our old flourescent lighting to LED. Lights using LEDs (Light Emitting Diode) are highly efficient as they produce more light per watt than incandescent bulbs, can be very small, light up very quickly and have up to 6 times the useful life of flourescent lighting (they are also less toxic as they don't contain mercury). With a help of a loan from The Carbon Trust, and the supply and installation know-how of Bristol-based company M&P Illuminations, we made the switch. as a result our offices are brighter and instantly more energy efficient. Other ways in which we try to reduce our energy consumption include: using window blinds to reduce the impact of direct sunlight on office temperature; during the recent hot weather we have been opening windows in our offices rather than having air conditioning on all the time; and because we all ask one another when we make tea or coffee, we tend to only boil the amount of water needed each time.
Recycling. As most businesses know, the idea of a paper-less office is appealing but rather more difficult in practice. In order to lessen the impact of all the paper that we don't want to keep and can't reuse, and because of the importance of securely disposing of paper with confidential information on it, we get all our used office paper collected and recycled by Shred-It, a paper shredding company that is passionate about the environment. All the paper they shred is baled up and taken off to be recycled into a wide variety of paper products. We've used them for over four years and strongly recommend them.
Reusing. One of the most basic things a company can do in terms of reusing is to stop providing plastic disposable cups for its employees to drink from and replace them with glasses and mugs. Other ways of reducing waste that we have adopted are: printing documents on both sides of the page; eliminating the use of envelopes with plastic windows in the post we send out; and al our calendars are electronic.
These are just some of the ways (some big, some small) we have been trying to make GWS a greener office, but we're always looking for more. Do you have any further tips on increasing energy efficiency or reducing waste? Please let us know of any success stories or initiatives in your office you would like to share.