The green movement is not reserved for the home frontier; implementing energy saving measures is just as relevant in the corporate or office environment, if not more so. Consider that corporates have, by virtue of their very nature, a far larger carbon footprint than the average domestic household and it stands to reason they get on board by making their businesses more environmentally sustainable.
Energy Saving at the Office
The good news for corporates wishing to green their businesses, is that as the movement gains ground so does innovation. The result is better and more cost-effective energy saving solutions are constantly being developed. Let’s take a look at some of the top options and ideas available to corporates today.
1.Winning with Waste
Turning a waste by-product into a new revenue stream – where possible and applicable – is obviously a win-win outcome for the corporate involved as well as the environment. US company, General Mills, did just this; the company, which produces oat hulls (a Cheerio’s by-product) by the ton, realized these same oat hulls could be burned as fuel. Their customers now compete to purchase this by-product, countering the removal and landfill costs and generating a healthy profit for the company. Is this an option for your company?
2.E-waste and the Environment
It cannot be denied that technology has made our business lives so much easier. The downside, however, to these technological advancements is the sheer amount of toxic e-waste they generate. According to Greenpeace, we are generating roughly 4 000 tons of e-waste every hour. That is a phenomenal amount of waste that has traditionally been disposed of in dead-hardware landfills located in India, China and Africa. The problem with e-waste is the heavy metals – such as mercury, lead, cadmium and arsenic – that leak into the surrounding soil and water systems. Enter take-back programs (on behalf of technology producers) and e-waste recycling. While these measures are still in their initial phase here in South Africa, it is a rapidly growing sector, with the potential not only to protect the health of ourselves and our environment but to create plentiful jobs.
3.Calculating your Carbon Footprint
As general awareness of environmental issues grows, so your customers expect to be kept informed as to what measures the corporates and businesses relevant to them are taking to reduce their carbon footprint. Product labelling that clearly states the carbon footprint count incurred during the production process empowers your customers to make energy saving “green” choices and encourages them to become aware of what other manufacturers and retailers are doing to mitigate their impact on the environment.
4.Passive Temperature Control
Installing proper insulation also assists with passive temperature control in your office building. By insulating ceilings, walls, geysers and hot water pipes, you can realize massive energy savings as your property will be naturally cooler in summer and warmer in winter, negating the need for expensive and power-hungry air conditioners. Manufactured from the thermally-bonded polyester of recycled plastic PET bottles, ISOTHERM is a truly environmentally-friendly product and an obvious “green” choice when insulating your office building.
5.Shedding Light on Green Issues
Lighting comes in as one of the biggest energy consumers for corporates after heating and cooling costs. There are a number of ways in which the lighting cost factor can be effectively reduced without compromising the quality of the work environment. Switching to energy saving CFL or LED bulbs is an attainable and affordable first step in cutting your lighting costs by up to 75%. The green movement has also spurred a move away from wasteful general lighting to smarter and more efficient task lighting setups.
Corporates go through massive amounts of paper daily, making it one of the largest sources of commercial waste. Over and above recycling this paper waste, corporates can implement a number of other measures to ensure they reduce the volume of paper they consume on average. Printing on both sides of a page; encouraging employees to maintain digital records; emailing invoices (as opposed to posting them); and reminding your clients and customers to print said emails only when absolutely necessary all contribute to decreasing the amount of paper waste.
Responsible sourcing of paper products is equally important so be sure to buy paper manufactured using a high percentage of post-consumer waste (PWC) or that is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) as originating from sustainably managed forests.
7.Local is Lekker
Where applicable, sourcing office supplies and services from local vendors is an excellent way to offset production costs and your company’s carbon footprint, as well as putting money back into your immediate economic community. Going “green” is ultimately the responsibility of each and every one of us. Countering the current, sad state of the environment is going to take a global group effort, so get your office into gear today and ensure your company’s impact on the environment is as positive as possible.