Whilst relocating is the perfect opportunity to implement green policies and select a more efficient base building, there are still a myriad of environmental initiatives to undertake without moving. Some of the most effective environmental initiatives have little or no cost implication whatsoever.
With this in mind we focus on ten tips to quickly improve the environmental performance of your existing office space.
1. Setup a steering group – assemble a team of committed staff who will investigate and champion green initiatives. The steering group should be allocated time to handle the role as well as having senior management endorsement.
2. Purchase renewable energy – one of the greatest improvements you can undertake is the easiest to implement. Select 100% renewable energy from a reliable supplier.
3. Change staff habits - review how employees access the building. Encourage car pooling and the use of public transport. Consider flexible working hours so staff can commute outside of peak traffic periods. Setup recycling stations, paper disposal bins and promote their use including instructions for the cleaners.
4. Lighting – maximise natural light where possible. Change switching so banks of lighting can be individually selected and turn the perimeter lighting off when not required. Install movement sensors and setup timers to ensure lights are not left on overnight. Review the light fittings as well as the tubes and globes for efficiency upgrades.
5. Maintain the HVAC system – service the HVAC system (Heating, Ventilation and Cooling) to keep it balanced and operating efficiently. Remove personal heaters which consume power and compete with the base building system. Ensure plant equipment is maintained. Setup timers to turn off afterhours with time capped bypass switches. Use the power hungry HVAC system as a top up final option by installing passive devices such as blinds, window tinting, external awnings, effective seals and insulation. And finally adjusting the thermostat by one degree can have a large impact on energy use.
6. Plumbing – investigate installing half flush toilet cisterns, waterless urinals, efficient taps and shower heads, water efficient HVAC plant equipment and harvesting rain water.
7. Purchasing decisions – source environmentally friendly products through accredited suppliers, from loose furniture through to coffee beans and paper. Reduce consumption and waste where possible.
8. Clean up environmentally – plan for any office clear outs to avoid taking quick disposal options that carry environmental tolls. Provide paper recycling options and source skip bins that will pass through recycling stations. Offer unwanted furniture to staff, charities, asset recovery companies and through e-bay. Redundant IT equipment can be sent to computer recycling services.
9. Monitor and manage – feedback is the breakfast of champions. To manage energy use and environmental performance you must first know what resources are being consumed, when and how. Monitor the usage, understand the systems and services in place and investigate opportunities to improve efficiency.
10. Get informed and spread the word – seek information from consultants, suppliers, seminars and the media to constantly further your knowledge base. Encourage staff to become involved, advise on initiatives undertaken and earn staff commitment both in their work and personal habits.