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Greening up the Office

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Hey All!


New to the community (and to Huddler!) and I'd love if all of you would share some of the tips you use to keep your office green.  Hope to get some great ideas from everyone here at Green Home!


post #2 of 20
 Welcome Blenz,

Let us see what our people come up with.

post #3 of 20
We don't do much at our office that can be considered green but we do a few things...

*We use a local company that picks up cardboard from other local businesses and recycles it into toilet paper, paper towels, and paper cups (for customers who want coffee).  They also provide us with biodegradable plastic cups made from corn and hand soap.

*Other than that, we do not have any recycling available to us, so I tend to take scrap paper and other materials to my house to recycle. (Not too bad since I am the only employee that works on site most days)

*We also encourage customers to seek information about us and our products on our website instead of requesting printouts from us.

*Provide a water cooler and reusable plastic glasses and ceramic mugs to discourage the use of plastic bottles and other disposables.

*Turn off all the monitors and printers that are not being used.

*Use recycled and post consumer waste printer paper.

*Encourage the use of alternate transportation (easy for us, we sell electric cars and scooters and simply give an employee discount)

There are so many other things we could do, like programmable thermostats, organic coffee, safer pesticides, weather stripping on the windows and doors (this building was built in the 40's I believe), and soy ink in our printers.

I know that there are a lot more people on here with tons of great ideas!
post #4 of 20
srj0385 gave a start - for more suggestions maybe you can provide information like -  What kind of an office are you talking about? Large, small, private owned or corporate owned? Is the management/boss interested? Insurance, engineering, sales???

There are different approaches to be made from one case to another.

post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by srj0385 View Post

*We use a local company that picks up cardboard from other local businesses and recycles it into toilet paper, paper towels, and paper cups (for customers who want coffee).  They also provide us with biodegradable plastic cups made from corn and hand soap.

Not sure if you're in the SF Bay Area, but I would love to know the name of the cardboard repurposing company you mentioned.  What a cool concept!  And thanks for the reply - you listed tons of great ideas that I can use to get started. 
post #6 of 20
Thread Starter 
Hey Russ -

Yeah, we're in fairly small office - we'll have max 30-40 people in here at full capacity.  The entire staff is pretty committed to staying as green as possible, but I think we're all at a bit of a loss to know how to do it, since it's rare to find a good example of a totally green friendly office in our work histories.  We do rent, so there will be limitations on altering anything permanently in our space, so I'm really curious how we can stay as sustainable as possible in terms of office supplies, food deliveries, power consumption, and in general other business practices that will help the green movement as a whole.  Thanks for the help, all!
post #7 of 20
 Hi Blenz,

As far as office supplies etc others are better than I - srj0385 did well for sure.

For energy things like:

1. Sealing doors and windows should be cost effective and acceptable to the owner. If there is excessive solar gain from windows a window film would be helpful.

2. With computers, printers etc need to be off after hours if possible. Each person can do it for themselves (not terribly reliable) or possibly an electrician can make minor modifications where a master switch or switches can power down everything as the last person goes out.

3. Lighting - again the master switch concept can be used but also possibly occupancy sensors and daylight sensors can keep lights on/off as required. Use of CFL or flourescent lights in place of old stlye bulbs has a quick payback. Lighting should be adequate for people to feel comfortable but excess lamps are just a waste.

Will continue thinking.

Good luck,
post #8 of 20
Another thing you could try is getting an indoor composter to reduce some of the food waste.  I've only ever used outdoor ones at home but going off my own office experiences, a lot of waste comes from people eating lunch (and sometimes breakfast and dinner) at work. Of course, then someone has to deal with taking home the soil. But at least you're not sending that stuff to the landfill.
post #9 of 20
Oh, I also noticed bigcitygreen started this wiki on reducing office paper waste.
post #10 of 20
We have found a few things, brainstorming:
Use motion activated switches, in restrooms etc, where lights might be left on.
A powerstrip at each desk to combat Vampire power
An "Inbox" on each desk to store recyclable paper until employee takes to a central recycle container. This also promtes using that paper multiple times for jotting down notes etc, eliminating note pads.
Assess office lighting. Many offices have 100 foot candles of light every day. We eliminated many lights, lowering levels down to 35 to 40 FC and everyone loves it!  More pleasing light levels.
Real coffee cups instead of Styro.
Programmable thermostat like at home.
post #11 of 20
Thread Starter 
You guys are awesome!  These ideas are totally on-point.  We're already doing stuff like keeping non-essential equipment and lights off throughout the day and powering down everything during the evenings.  I just got a bunch of recycling containers for paper and other materials, so hopefully the cleaning crew is ensuring those are going to the proper receptacles. 

In terms of climate control, we're not really using anything, since the weather stays pretty mild throughout the year in San Francisco.  We have steam-heat in the building - does anyone know how sustainable that is as a whole?  I have to do some research on it myself!  

We don't have any reusable cups or anything, preferring to wash them with eco-friendly dish soap! :)

Thanks again, all!  Keep those ideas coming!
post #12 of 20
Recycling paper, setting the office printer to print on both sides, turning of the monitor  when you are not at your desk and other devices when not in use, using energy efficient lightings, minimizing the usage of air conditioners and also using water wisely like fixing leaky faucets, installing dual flush toilets among many other things will help offices to go green and also save money. You can find water saving tips at
post #13 of 20
We do a few things as a routine, in order to keep as green as possible.

1) We use only FedEx Ground. Never expedited or air courier. Ground shipments are always less in carbon footprint than air shipments.
2) We never issue any invoices or receipts. Our feedback forms are online as well. There are so many free platforms and software for all this good stuff. Don't use paper in the office. leave message and memos in voicemails and emails.
3) Use at least 60% recycled materials for packaging. Packaging is hard to keep green. But if Starbucks do their cups and holders from 60% - it is also good enough for us.
4) There are many substitutes in the market, for almost any material. Granted, at this point, all green or eco products are always (well 90% of the time) more expensive. But it's getting better.
5) Look for online reviews. There are many great sites with many great recommendations. Such as this one, and the National Geographic's Green Guide.

Good/Green luck!!
post #14 of 20

hi i  am looking for thermostat with motion activated for a/c

post #15 of 20

Break room/kitchen.

Cloth towels vs paper (waste) towels.

Counter top water filter system; allows for elimination of bottled water/plastic waste.

Ceramic cups/plates/silverware vs paper/plastic throwaway junk.

Designate one person (different every week) to turn off all the extraneous machines

at night before they leave; printers, cpu's, or have them smart switches on all

electrical equipment; one switch and it's off. (kitchen too).

Eliminate electric clocks, printing on one side only (use both sides) car pool,

install cfl's or led's, power down all elevators except one at night.

House plants, especially in winter, will add a bit of moisture to the air (and they

lift spirits).

Small fans for air movement allow the "suits" to turn up the a/c a bit but you still

feel comfortable.

Recycling bins, "tele-work" from home if possible (saves gas emissions)

Depending on the deep pockets of the company: grey water capture, rain water

capture systems, settling ponds (nice area for planting more trees/flowers/attracting

butterflies/bees) solar,

There's a lot that can be done to reduce our collective consumption at the "office".

post #16 of 20

Might I also suggest recycling your toner and ink cartridges and replacing them with remanufactured inks and remanufactured toner cartridges? It's our primary product line and not only are our prices competitive, we produce them out of recycled components at our Southern California location. On top of that, we donate a percentage of our revenue to EarthShare, and we have our own recycling program, so not only do our customers save money on their printer supplies, we like to think that with each purchase, we're helping them save the planet. We are a proud member of Green America's Green Business Network, and you can find our products and more information at our site:

post #17 of 20

Hi Eveyone, love the ideas for greening up the office.  I also think LED light bulbs are a great way to save on energy in the long run.  The bulbs last extremely long, limiting the need for replacement bulbs and reducing the waste heading to landfills, etc.  Also no mercury! 


The Tassimo coffee maker by Bosch is an energy efficient coffee maker that will allow you to make great coffee in the office and also further save on energy. 


What about the office washroom?  High efficiency, low-flow toilets can also help conserve water and green up the office.  The Stealth 0.8GPF is a great product.


If you like some of these ideas, check out some other eco superior products at our website:


Cheers :)




post #18 of 20

It's the little things that can really have a big impact.

For example when leaving your desk turn off your screen.

Cloth towels in bathrooms instead of paper ones.

Making lunch at home and bringing it in a reusable container. 

Arrange desks so that they receive the most natural light, this will mean that you will be able to work longer without turning the light on. 

The biggest thing I think however is to make sure you don't just switch electronic items off but unplug them from the mains, then no electricity can be used by the equipment. 

When leaving an office or moving make sure you use an office clearance company who are committed to environmentally issues. 

post #19 of 20

I agree - small changes = big impact


You can read some of my eco tips here => 



Green Greetings from Jess x

post #20 of 20

As my dream is designing a totally green home from scratch, off the top of my mind is ....


1.  Solar electricity

2.  LED lighting (one of many reasons why I opted to work for a distributor of - wanted work in a pro-green industry)

3.  Some form of a tinted window insert for the summer to reduce need for air-conditioning.

4.  No-paper policy - electronic documents whenever possible.

5.  Work from home incentives when applicable

6.  Office furnishings that are eco compatible, and recyclable.


?? I doubt it's this simple, but those are my thoughts....





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