How to incorporate sustainable elements into your small business office

How to incorporate sustainable elements into your small business office

Much of your time during the week is likely spent at the office. In fact, most people in the U.S. put in at least 40 hours per week at work. Just because your office isn't your home (although it may feel like that sometimes), that doesn't mean you can't reduce your carbon footprint and make the building a more environmentally sustainable place.

Bamboo flooring
Simply replacing the flooring in your office building can make a positive impact on the environment. Bamboo regenerates faster than hardwood floors and you can get about 20 times more building material from bamboo. It reproduces without the need for replanting, and requires minimal fertilization or pesticides. And once bamboo flooring is installed in your office space, it doesn't need many chemicals to clean and repair it. It's a durable and attractive flooring option that will enhance the beauty of your space while being eco-friendly at the same time.

Turn off your computer
Save energy by turning off your computer before you head out for the evening. In a study by 1E and the Alliance to Save Energy, as many as half of all office workers in America who use a PC don't shut it down at the end of the work day. This wastes about $2.8 billion and 20 tons of CO2 per year. Turning off your computer can also save the company money. A U.S. company with 10,000 PCs will waste $260,000 in energy throughout the year due to computers that are left on when nobody is using them.

Fill the space with plants
Plants not only bring natural beauty into the office space, they reduce the level of CO2 in the atmosphere and make for a better working environment. Just be careful about which plants you choose - flowering plants can have an impact on employees with pollen allergies. Instead, try something like a spider plant, which helps eliminate benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and xylene - a solvent used in the leather, rubber and printing industries.

Conserve paper
You can cut back on paper use in the office by emailing or faxing documents instead of printing them out and making copies. You can also use the print preview option on your computer to review, edit or format a document instead of printing it out. Print out only what is needed.

Opt for laptops instead of PCs
It may be time to swap your PCs for laptops. Office laptops provide optimal efficiency by using as much as five times less energy than your typical desktop computer. You also have the option of taking your computer home with you so that you can work from home and save fossil fuels by reducing commutes.