How to Create a More Sustainable Office

Sustainability is a key component in modern office design, as well as a crucial factor that can help shape a successful workplace.

Operating a sustainable office has several advantages. Not only is it cost-effective, but it can also improve productivity and assist with enhancing a company's image. Furthermore, embracing sustainable practices in the workplace can create a happier and healthier workforce, leading to a boost in staff acquisition and retention.

Let‘s take a look at the simple ways you can create a more sustainable office, from encouraging green travel and going paperless to installing living walls, and more.

Embrace Sustainable Furniture

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that up to 8.5 million tons, or 17 billion pounds, of office furniture ends up in U.S. landfills each year. While flat-pack furniture has become a quick, simple, and cheap way to fill offices, businesses should reconsider the way they furnish their space in favor of sustainability.

Start by foregoing cheap and mass-produced designs for well-crafted pieces made from sustainable materials, such as wood, stone, or bamboo. Some furniture companies are also creating designs made entirely of recycled plastic. Supporting these brands—and their unique office furniture—is a great way to keep additional plastic out of landfills.

Look to Your Lighting

Lighting accounts for approximately 25 percent of the energy bill in commercial buildings. Therefore, when looking to create a more sustainable office, this should be one of the first areas addressed.

Swapping your existing office lighting for 30W integrated LED fittings can save up to 67 percent in energy usage, due to their lower power levels, generation of less heat, and longevity when compared to traditional incandescent bulbs.

Along with switching out your office’s current light bulbs for more energy-efficient ones, you should also enhance natural light where possible. According to the World Green Building Council, employees working near sunlit windows have a 15 percent higher productivity rate. This can be attributed to natural light’s ability to significantly improve health and wellness among workers.

Go Paperless

In our digital age, our increasing reliance on digital work methods is actually allowing offices to be more sustainable. This is because printed documents—particularly for corrections, revisions, and updates—contribute up to 90 percent of all office waste within the U.S.

Additionally, over 60 percent of the 17 billion cubic feet of trees deforested each year is used to make paper. This deforestation alone is responsible for almost one-fifth of the world's annual greenhouse gas emissions.

By making the effort to embrace digital practices where possible and go paperless, offices can dramatically reduce this unnecessary waste. To make the switch, consider which software, apps, devices, or cloud storage you can utilize in your office’s day-to-day operations.

Encourage Green Travel

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, motor vehicle exhaust accounts for up to 95 percent of all carbon monoxide (CO) emissions in cities. Companies can encourage and incentivize employees to reduce their commute emissions by walking, bicycling, carpooling, or taking public transportation to work.

Installing showers and practical staff lockers in your office will allow walkers, bikers, and runners to freshen up upon arrival and store their gear in a safe and secure location. For cyclists, having adequate bike storage in the form of a bike rack or garage will encourage workers to swap four wheels for two.

Turn Off Electronics