We are using up more and more of our fossil fuels each year and unfortunately they are running out. They will not last forever which is why it is becoming even more crucial we all start embracing ‘Green energy’. No more is this true than in the workplace. More and more ‘Green workplaces’ are springing up all over the world but there are still not enough.
If each company in the UK were to embrace Green Energy, not only would this have a hugely positive environmental impact but it would also reduce the amount of wasted energy from each company and therefore save a lot of money too. Not to mention the fact that doing ‘good’ will naturally enhance the culture of each workplace.
So, how can your workplace reduce the amount of wasted energy, save money and help the environment?
One of the easiest ways to reduce the amount of energy your workplace uses is to, quite simply, change your light bulbs. This may sound simple but it makes a real difference. For instance, energy saving bulbs can last up to eight times longer than a traditional bulb and use a lot less energy too!
-Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) are the odd shaped bulbs you are probably using in your own home. They are handy because they fit into the traditional bulb sockets so require no additional fittings. They are 80% energy saving, so most definitely worthwhile installing in your workplace.
-Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) are much smaller bulbs than you will be used to. However, whilst small they are very efficient, both in terms of the light they emit, as well as the energy they use. LEDs tend to be more expensive than CFL bulbs; however, they offer a workplace a lot more value because they last longer.
2. Dealing with your waste
How you dispose of your electronic waste is extremely important. Disposing of electronics in the wrong way can have a huge negative environmental impact, due to the amount of hazardous ingredients they contain. If you are unsure of how to dispose of your electrical waste, you should contact your local council, as well as use the online resources provided by DEFRA and the Energy Saving Trust.
We live in a digital world now, so why are we still printing out reams of paper? Using devices, laptops and mobiles in meetings instead of printouts will not only save trees but cut down on the amount of paper waste your workplace produces. Try to put a limit on the number of copies and printouts your photocopiers and printers produce and then start charging employees, or their departmental budgets, after this set limit is reached.
3. Going green with your IT
‘Green IT’ is becoming more and more recognised as companies start to realise the huge cost savings that can be made. In a recent study it was even estimated that, of the European companies who have embraced green IT, they will have saved approximately 23.2 million euros in a year.
What is meant by green IT is the practicing of environmentally sustainable computing. This involves everything from how a computer and other electrical equipment are manufactured to how they are used on a daily basis.
Workplaces can start their own green IT schemes by embracing cloud computing, which is where documents, files and data is saved on, and accessed via, the web instead of on a local server. This will save your workplace physical space, as well as money. Cloud computing is relatively low maintenance, you can access it from wherever you are, 24/7, and it is also of extremely low impact to the environment.
4. Encourage virtual meetings
As travel costs continue to increase, it makes sense to conduct more meetings via teleconference or via the web. Not only will embracing virtual meetings end up saving your company a lot of money in travel costs, it will also reduce the negative impact on the environment because you will not be driving or taking public transport.
Reports into tele/web conferencing have also shown an increase in productivity amongst those taking part, which is a huge bonus. One can only assume this is down to employees having more time to dedicate to their work, instead of travelling to and from various meetings.
5. Reconsider how your employees travel to work
Reducing the amount of energy your workplace produces is not just limited to your physical workplace. You also need to take responsibility for how much energy your employees are using each time they come to, and leave, work.
You should do a survey of your employees, asking them how they travel to and from work. Take notice of how many people are driving and try to link up employees who travel from the same areas, encouraging them to carpool. Reducing the number of cars on the road will help decrease the amount of CO2 entering the atmosphere, not to mention help lessen the amount of traffic on the road.
Look into the various public transport schemes the Government offer, as well as schemes like Cycle to Work and make sure your employees are well informed about these. You may even consider offering rewards or incentives to employees who take up these schemes. Another option is to encourage people to work from home a few times a week. This will decrease the number of people using transport to work, as well as cut down on the amount of energy being used in the workplace.
James writes for Jaga perimeter heating. When not writing, he can often be found trying to reduce his Co2 emissions both at home and at work.