Earth Day is Monday, April 22, and it serves as a good reminder of the importance of protecting our planet. Being kind to the environment is also healthy for your company's pocketbook. Jode Roberts, Communications Director of the David Suzuki Foundation, a Vancouver-based environmental awareness organization says greening you workplace operations is one of the best ways to improve your company’s bottom line.
Here are four easy steps to make your office more eco-friendly.
1. Encourage smarter commuting.
We all know walking, cycling or car pooling to work is an easy way to cut down on pollution, but small-business owners can do even more to encourage employees to use these eco-friendly commuting options. "Providing a bike rack or a shower for employees who want to cycle to work is an easy way to support [eco-friendly commuters]," says Roberts. Some companies even provide financial incentives to employees who cycle or take public transportation to work or meetings rather than taking taxis.
2. Cut down on paper use.
Save trees and your office supply budget by eliminating as much paper from your office as possible. Invite staff and clients to view presentations on their individual laptops or a large screen rather than handing out copies. Change the default setting on printers to double-sided and invite staff to create a scrap paper box. Install cloth roll dispensers or air dryers in washrooms and use cloth towels instead of paper towels in the office kitchen.
3. Eliminate energy vampires.
When not in use, unplug cell phone chargers, televisions, and anything else with an LED display. "These devices are commonly referred to as energy vampires -- appliances that are always drawing a current even though you aren't using them," says Roberts. Install a timer to turn off appliances during the evenings and weekends when they're not in use and ask employees to turn off their computers when they leave the office and use the power save setting on laptops.
Replace incandescent light bulbs with CFLs (compact florescent light bulbs) or energy efficient T8 or T5 florescent tubes instead of T12s to reduce energy consumption by around 40 percent. Since these lights emit less heat, you’ll also save on air conditioning in the summer months.
4. Source local food for meetings.
If you order out for client or staff meetings, use caterers that source local, sustainable food.By buying local, you're supporting local farms and preventing nearby farmland from falling into the hands of large developers. You can also feel good about cutting down on the use of fossil fuels and pollutants emitted by trucks that carry produce thousands of miles to your meeting table.