You're running a business and you want to do it right. That means bringing your environmental and social performance in line for a healthier bottom line. You are asking questions such as, "Are we taking advantage of the sustainable business strategies available to our business to increase productivity? What actions have we taken to reduce our environmental footprint? However, sometimes the very basics go unnoticed yet provide plenty of opportunity for eco awareness. Consider greening your home office. It's easy and following are ideas to get you on your path to a more sustainable home office.
Furniture / Building Material used:
• Opt for furniture made from local, sustainably harvested resources when possible.
• Select carpet and rugs made of natural fibers or recycled materials.
• Flooring options include bamboo, recycled/ reclaimed wood, or ceramic tiles made from recycled glass.
• Decorate your walls with low VOC paints.
Heating/ Cooling/ Lighting:
• Sign up for sustainable energy sources: renewable energy credits, wind energy, and home solar systems are a few ways that you can use sustainable energy sources in your own home. Most major utilities companies have renewable energy programs; see your company’s website for more information.
• Use natural lighting as well as compact fluorescent bulbs.
• Insulate well.
• Use public transportation or commute by bike. Other options include teleconferencing and video conferencing.
• If travel is required, travel with the environment in mind.
• Invoke the sustainability concepts of the three R's: reduce, reuse, and recycle and apply it to everything: paper, print cartridges, office supplies, etc. Remember to reduce waste by limiting what you purchase. Purchasing less means less waste.
• Leverage technology to go paperless.
• Reduce unnecessary electrical consumption: unplug seldom used devices.
• Utilize power strips for commonly used devices. Choices include Watt stopper and Bits limited.
• Unplug chargers (think cell phones and iPods) when not in use. Only 5% of the power drawn by a cell phone charger is used to charge the phone. The other 95% is wasted when it is left plugged into the wall.
• Remember to buy energy star equipment.
Improve indoor air quality:
• Plants and natural / non toxic cleaners contribute to improve indoor air quality encouraging good health and improved productivity.
• Establish environmentally responsible purchasing guidelines for supplies and criteria for vendors.
• Source eco friendly office supplies.
• Purchase and dispose of electronic equipment responsibly.
Sustainable business strategies used by larger organizations are examples of best practices that can be utilized in small business to generate cost savings, reduced environmental impacts, and brand differentiation by going green.