Greening Your Office

introduce an eco-friendly workspace

By Kathy Fediw, LEED AP, CLP, CLT | April 20, 2011 | topics: Eco-friendly Office Tips
Want to be more eco-friendly at work?  Here’s our favorite tips for greening your office space:

  • A plant for every office.  Did you know that the ordinary office plant can rid the air of harmful toxins, improve your health and make you more productive?  It’s true and there are over 20 research studies to prove it.  You don’t need a jungle, the most recent research shows that one plant per 160 square feet of office space (about the size of an average office) is all you need, provided the plant is at least in an 8” growing pot (a large desk plant or small floor plant.)  You could also use 3 or more tabletop plants to get the same results.
  • Bring in your own coffee cup.  You can cut down on the Styrofoam and plastic cups and bottles that fill our landfills by using your own cup.  Not practical?  Switch to recyclable paper cups instead.  Which brings us to our next tip:
  • Recycle!  Most urban areas and commercial buildings now have recycling programs, so set up those bins and get cracking.  Nearly 90% of all office waste can be recycled.
  • Use products made from recycled materials.  Recycled office paper is easy to find, as well as recycled paper towels, etc.  More products are being made from recycled products so keep your eyes opened.  Look for products with a high amount of post-consumer recycled material.
  • Open the blinds and turn off the overhead lights.  If your office has windows, turn off your overhead lights and use natural day-lighting instead.  Use task lighting at your desk if you need more light. You’ll save energy and enjoy the view!  Close the blinds over the weekend and at night to help moderate the temperature and cut down on energy use.
  • Own the building?  Use native plants and xeriscaping to cut down on irrigation water and grounds maintenance.  Your landscaping company will be glad to help you with a more eco-friendly design.  Set up a bird-friendly area with a water source and berry- or nut-producing plants while you’re at it.
  • Switch to fair trade coffee and tea.  Your favorite beverage can be grown in an eco-friendly manner, no matter what part of the globe it originates, and one in which local laborers are paid a fair wage for an honest day’s work.  Just what you’d want for your own family, right?
  • Kick the habit.  Smoking, that is.  Smoking releases all kinds of cancer-causing toxins into the air, let alone what it does to your own set of lungs.  You know it’s bad for you, but it’s also bad for everyone else in your office.  Besides, we know you’ve been wanting to quit, haven’t you?!

For more information on the many benefits of indoor plants, go to www.greenplantsforgreenbuildings.org.

Eco-Friendly Practices

here are some tips to help anyone make their home or office more eco-friendly

By Kathy Fediw, LEED AP, CLP, CLT | April 20, 2011 | topics: Eco-friendly Tips

Here are some tips about how anyone can make their office or home more eco-friendly:

  • Switch to compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFL’s.)  I am totally sold on these little babies.  We were replacing the incandescent light bulbs for our driveway every month, then switched to CLF’s.  We are now on our tenth month and they are still going strong, and they use way less energy.  This is a no-brainer and I’ll predict that incandescents will soon go the way of vinyl records and videotapes.
  • Use recycled paper.  It costs the same or just slightly more than regular paper and has the same look and feel.  And while you’re at it, recycle all that paper sitting in your wastebasket right now.  Better yet, do you really need to write it down or print it out?  If you hate filing like I do, just keep everything nice and organized on your computer and do away with filing folders and cabinets.
  • Do everything in one trip.  Some of you may remember the oil shortage of the 1980’s when you could only fill up your gas tank on certain days of the week.  We all learned to combine our errands into one trip.  Not only will you save fuel and decrease harmful emissions, you’ll also save time!
  • Use phosphate-free soaps and detergents.  Phosphates encourage algae growth in our water supplies, lakes and streams, which can build up and suffocate fish and other aquatic life.
  • Make it your goal to have a plant in every room.  Research is still being conducted, but most agree that one plant per 100 square feet of living or office space will clean the air of harmful volatile organic compounds, given off by particle board, carpet, glues and a host of other building components.  Better yet, plants actually break down these gases into harmless compounds that they then use for food.  No man-made filtration system can do that!

For more information on the many benefits of indoor plants, go to www.greenplantsforgreenbuildings.org