Green Your Workspace

In addition to trying to live greener at home, many of us are trying to make our offices more environmentally friendly as well. From recycling to shutting off the lights at the end of the day, there are many ways to limit our carbon footprint. NSF’s sustainability office has put together a top ten list of tips to help make our offices a greener place to work.

  • Buy local. Give preference to locally manufactured supplies. Not only will you be supporting other local businesses, but fewer natural resources will be used to transport the products to your workplace.
  • Pack lighter when traveling. An extra 10 pounds per traveler requires 350 million more gallons of jet fuel per year.
  • Dispose of the disposables. Limit the use of disposable cups at your workplace and instead provide washable mugs and glasses. If you take your lunch to the office, pack it in a washable container instead of paper or plastic bags that aren’t designed for re-use.
  • Avoid hidden power usage. While essential to conduct business, today’s electronic office equipment is a huge energy draw. Leaving nonessential office equipment on 24/7 can result in hundreds of extra kilowatts of electricity usage each year. Shut off non-essential equipment at the end of each day.
  • Create a greener office environment. Choose greener materials by selecting commercial flooring and wall coverings certified to new sustainability standards, including NSF/ANSI 140 (carpet), NSF/ANSI 332 (resilient flooring) and NSF/ANSI 342 (wall coverings).
  • Use natural light wisely. Maximize the use of natural light in your office by placing private offices in the interior areas.
  • Choose greener furniture. If your office is replacing any office furniture and indoor air quality is a concern, consider purchasing furniture certified to meet ANSI/BIFMA X7.1, which limits VOC (volatile organic chemical) emissions from office furniture.
  • Replace standalone copiers and printers with a multipurpose unit. Today’s copiers not only copy, but most can print, scan and fax. A single multipurpose copier typically uses half the energy of individual fax machines, printers and copiers.
  • Go paperless. Publish and distribute documents electronically whenever possible. Post your publications on your company’s website for viewing and download. If reports or newsletters mush be published in hard copy, print on both sides of the paper, use single spacing, and choose paper that has the maximum post-consumer content available. Keep in mind that the greenest paper is no paper at all.
  • Buy ENERGY STAR qualified office equipment. ENERGY STAR computers, printers and other business machines are designed to power down when not in use, making them 50 percent more efficient.