Green Business Bureau Blog
How to Green the Workplace
Office equipment such as printers, computers, fax machines, desks, cabinets among others are just as important as employees in the workplace. These items have become indispensable in the day to day operation of the business. Home-based jobs are also increasingly becoming a trend which requires workers to fill up office equipment at home. However, some companies and individuals are not aware that these essentials actually cause lesser productivity and health hazards to employees and household members.
Greenguard states that people spend over 90% of their time indoors. This results to exposure to thousands of airborne pollutants. Greenguard reports:
“Products and materials indoors release volatile chemicals and particles into the air that may negatively affect human health or result in unacceptable odors. Inadequate ventilation, high temperatures, and high humidity levels increase concentrations of some pollutants, leading to indoor air pollution levels up to 100 times higher than those outdoors.”
This is just one of the reasons why companies and individuals are encouraged to switch to green equipment. In another context, Energy Star asserts that:
“If every home office product purchased in the U.S. this year were ENERGY STAR qualified, Americans would save $200 million in annual energy costs while preventing almost 3 billion pounds of greenhouse gases – equivalent to the emissions of 250,000 cars.”
Energy Star recommends office equipment that has earned the Energy Star seal. These equipment range from computers, copiers, fax machines, digital duplicators, enterprise servers, external power adapters, mailing machines, monitors, printers, scanners and all-in-ones down to water coolers. These qualified office products with specific brands offer energy-efficient design and power management which not only significantly save on expenses and protect human health but also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the environment.
Here are simple tips to guide you in setting up a green equipment workplace either at home or at the office.
1. Consider purchasing all-in-one printer, scanner, fax machine and photocopier. It makes sense to buy one item instead of four. All-in-ones are a lot cheaper than buying individual items. They also use up lesser space and some are actually handy which basically means significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants.
2. Use duplex printers that print on both sides. This will save tons of trees in the long run. As much as possible, avoid printing documents. Email is the best way to send files when necessary. Exercise paperless transactions which will save you from regular paper purchase not to mention that you reduce solid wastes at the office or at home. When paper usage cannot be avoided, buy recycled and non-toxic office supply.
3. Purchase furniture such as shelves, chairs and tables etc. that are manufactured out of sustainable wood. Planet green suggests using “Wood from sustainably harvested forests, sustainably harvested tree farms and reclaimed wood as the main sources.” Best of all, if you can refurbish your furniture, it will be more beneficial to your pocket as well as the environment. Consider repainting the outside or replacing cushions to reutilize old furniture. If aesthetics will be compromised, you can always donate them to others.
There are numerous ways to green your work environment. Refillables, post-consumer waste products and non-toxic materials are just some of the additional ways to help conserve the environment. As always, Green Business Bureau asserts that going green does not only benefit the environment but more so, it helps green implementers save a lot of cash by consuming fewer resources.