Contributed by Annie Button, a content specialist in business growth and development.
Many people want faster action from their government on climate change, some are taking steps to do what they can to reduce their carbon emissions at home. The workplace, however, often lags in environmental considerations. Offices can be very wasteful in terms of energy use.
There are simple steps employers can make to improve their carbon footprint—and many are even beneficial to your bottom line. An organization that’s environmentally aware may even be more attractive to the younger workforce.
Here are six ways that your office can cut its carbon emissions.
1. Cycle to work.
One of the biggest ways that workplaces contribute to carbon emissions is in the ways that staff travel to it. To inspire change, why not launch at least one bike-to-work day?
Your business can do many things to make it easier for those who want to cycle in, such as providing information on routes and helping employees save money towards the cost of a bike.
For any staff who can’t bike to work, encourage them to carpool or use public transportation.
Recycling is second-nature to many families, but it’s not always top of mind at the office.
Make sure that your business has a process for recycling as well as clearly labelled bins for items that don’t need to be trashed.
Remember that many more items than paper can be recycled! Consider all the electronics, batteries, plastics and other resources that may be diverted from landfills in order to help slow climate change. Reach out to a specialist organization for help.
Making a positive impact on our environment is one of the key goals of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals—an initiative that EO wholeheartedly supports. Learn more about how we’re making an #EOimpact.
3. Turn off everything, every night.
To lower carbon emissions, it is important to avoid wasting electricity. Leaving computers, lights and other equipment all night can add significantly to your energy usage.
Not only does this practice impact the environment, but it also costs your business money in the form of a higher electricity bill. Make it company policy that everyone switches off their computer every night.
4. Digitize your documents.
Another way to cut down on carbon emissions is to move toward being a paper-free office. Sure, this may sound a huge step, but it’s actually quite realistic.
To get started, make a plan for reducing your printouts, adjusting processes to be paper-free and making digital copies of important files. Consider removing printers, updating server storage and assigning an environmental task force to make it happen.
Digital documents have a number of benefits beyond environmental considerations . They are easily accessed 24/7 from anywhere in the world. They can be securely and easily backed up on cloud servers, so you don’t need to worry about losing files. Plus, imagine the reduction in the cost of paper and printers!
5. Upgrade your lighting.
This small change adds up to big savings. Every time a bulb dies, replace it with an energy-efficient one. LED bulbs are longer lasting than halogen bulbs and they cause far less harm in the way of carbon emissions.
6. Be smarter with heating and air conditioning.
We are accustomed to the idea of adjusting our climate with the tap of a button. When we feel warm, we turn on the air conditioning. When it cools down, we turn up the heat. (And every office worker can attest to the workplace temperature wars!)
Unfortunately cooling and heating are a great contributor to carbon emissions. Be smart about your use of heating and cooling.
Use your air conditioning only as a last resort—when opening the windows and creating airflow is not effective. Encourage staff to dress warmer for the cold conditions. Turn the thermostat down; even a single degree can have a big effect.