Fredericksburg SHINES

Leading the Way in Sustainability

Creating a Sustainable Workplace

A significant eco-step that you can take is to bring your excitement about environmentalism into your workplace. There are too many benefits of greening your workplace to not take on the challenge! Along with energy & financial savings, and education of your co-workers or employees, there is also a pride that you are working in an eco-positive work environment.

Before you begin

Perhaps you’re one of those people who has a sincere desire to introduce green living to their office. But, your concern is that it will be too expensive, or there is no money in the current budget to start making changes. Here’s a strategy for making a considerable ecological difference without any significant financial investments.

Getting started!

  • Form a Green Team– this can be a fun was to share your environmental concerns with your co-workers. Together your team can initiate different activities ; one great example being a Green Week…
  • Launch a Green Week–   select a different activity for each day of the week. Here’s an example of what a week could look like:
  1. Monday: recycle your used batteries/eyeglasses/ink cartridges
  2. Tuesday: Bring a mug to work day
  3. Wednesday: Print on both sides of the paper day
  4. Thursday: Commute by bike, public transportation, or carpool
  5. Friday: Meatless lunch challenge
  • Make small investments- consider starting with small changes like introducing recycling bins, changing to energy efficient light bulbs, and moving towards electronic documents instead of paper.
  • Change your coffee- we sit and drink it all day and it’s something that is seldom thought about, but where does your coffee come from? Is it some generic coffee from who-knows-where? Try a free-trade or organic coffee instead. Fair trade and organic coffees are generally more environmentally sensitive than non.
  • Get all the employees involved- sit down and relay the importance of acting as a team to get your workplaces’ green initiatives into motion. Get everyone excited about "working green" by thinking of some incentives for everyone upon reaching agreed upon goals.
  • Think long term- It might seem scary to invest in new windows, replacing large appliances, or invest in a green roof, but these actions have significant long term effects, on your bottom line and the environment. While the upfront expenditure is high, you save significantly on heating and electricity costs.

For further reading

Green Your Work: Boost Your Bottom Line While Reducing Your Carbon Footprint by Kim Carlson, this book explores practical steps that your workplace can take to support environmental initiatives.

Suggested web links

Chicago’s Green Office Challenge – gives tips on how you can realize your goals of greening your office, utilizing the thrill of competition among businesses

U.S. Green Building Council – contains comprehensive materials on how LEED certification can be achieved for your project or building

Green Globes – provides free green web seminars on how to maintain a green building

Contributed and revised 3/12/2012 by John Watson

 

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