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Eight Steps to Greening your Office
Many office managers and building managers are needing to get "up-to-speed" with going green. When you're looking to green your office, or to choose more natural and sustainable options, here are eight steps to consider:
1) Interior plants.
Beautiful, lush plant life helps with air quality, enhances the interior style of your office, and relieves stress. Choose indoor office plants that are easy to care for like pothos, spider plants, and snake plant (also known as mother-in-law's tongue).
2) Green cleaning products and supplies.
Choose a cleaning service that specializes in only all-natural, sustainably created, or green products - by choosing green you help reduce your own chemical exposure. You also reduce the ambient level of pollutants in the environment. For supplies, consider options like toilet paper made with recycled paper, kitchen utensils and plates made from bagasse or corn by-products, and compostable bags.
3) Go with green providers, whenever possible.
Opt for green providers for your regular services, such as choosing green-certified or green-oriented upholstery cleaning, pesticide service, janitorial service, painting service, and transportation options.
4) Replace materials with LEED options.
The "sick building" syndrome can be ameliorated by choosing natural options such as no-VOC or low-VOC flooring, better options for thermal insulation and fire-proofing, installing HEPA filters for better air quality, and being vigilant about mold, mildew, and bacteria.
Converting to better-insulated windows will help your office building conserve more energy. Replace all exterior-facing windows with double-paned windows, and choose window treatments made with natural materials for a nice look-and-feel.
Converting to compact fluorescent bulbs and considering skylights and other methods of increasing outside lighting are your best bet for reducing your lighting costs.
Find recycled paper options, reduce reliance on "throwaway" products, and encourage more dependence on green methods such as e-document delivery, e-mail, or PDF copies instead of paper copies. Any document that must be printed out can be evaluated against the option of offering a greener electronic version.
8) Encouraging employees to participate.
There are many options to encourage employees to get "on-board" with a green initiative. From supporting commuters, to increasing bike racks, allowing work-from-home measures, offering a compost bin and a recycling section, providing organic and natural snacks for the kitchen, and replacing furniture with more sustainable and natural materials, you can signify your company's efforts to adopt a more green lifestyle.
Education is key - by slowly increasing, measuring, frequently reporting on your overall green efforts, and celebrating when targets are met, your people and the planet will benefit.
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