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4 Ways to Make Your Office More Green

29th July 2010
GWS Team

We've spent quite a bit of time on the blog so far talking about online marketing strategies for business, how to use forms of social media and so on.

This post is slightly different, as we want to talk a bit about the environment, and what we've been doing to make the GWS Office a more eco-friendly environment.

We hope we can offer some tips to others o this very important subject, and perhaps you can tell us what you've been doing to make your office a greener place.


1. Office Design

When we moved to our new offices, we worked with a very talented local interior design company Design Rock, which specialises in sustainable interior design.

As a result of this connection, we made the decision to install bamboo flooring throughout our new space. Bamboo is an all-round fantastic alternative to hardwood.

We also decided to decorate using organic atmosphere-purifying paint.

As bamboo is a grass (actually the fastest growing woody plant on the planet), it takes only 3-5 years to mature enough to be made into flooring (as opposed to the 20 years a tree would take), which means it is much more sustainable.

Moreover, bamboo is a better choice for flooring in general as it is one of the hardest natural materials available.

The paint that Design Rock recommended contains silicates that permanently absorb and neutralise pollutants (air in homes and offices can be 70 times more polluted than outside, and contains a mixture of solvents and chemicals, such as formaldehyde from carpets, furnishings etc.).

Both choices look great, and give our office a smart, modern look.


2. Energy Consumption

More recently, we made the decision to switch our old fluorescent lighting to LED.

Lights using LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) are highly efficient as they produce much more light per watt than incandescent bulbs, can be very small, light up very quickly, and have up to 6 times the useful life of fluorescent lighting. They are also less toxic than fluorescent bulbs as they don't contain mercury.

With a help of a loan from The Carbon Trust, and the supply and installation know-how of Bristol-based company M&P Illuminations, we made the switch.

As a result, our offices are brighter and instantly more energy efficient than before!

Other ways in which we try to reduce our energy consumption include using window blinds to reduce the impact of direct sunlight on office temperature.

During the recent hot weather, we have been opening windows in our offices rather than having air conditioning on all the time.

Finally, because we all ask one another when we make tea or coffee, we tend to only boil the amount of water needed each time.


3. Recycling

As most businesses know, the idea of a paperless office is appealing but rather more difficult in practice.

In order to lessen the impact of all the paper that we don't want to keep and can't reuse, and because of the importance of securely disposing of paper with confidential information on it, we get all our used office paper collected and recycled by KN Office Shredding, the environmentally responsible paper shredding division of Bristol-based company KN Office.

All the paper they shred is baled up and taken off to be recycled into a wide variety of paper products.

We've used them for over five years and strongly recommend them.


4. Reusing

One of the most basic things a company can do in terms of reusing is to stop providing plastic disposable cups for its employees to drink from and replace them with glasses and mugs.

Other ways of reducing waste that we have adopted are: printing documents on both sides of the page; eliminating the use of envelopes with plastic windows in the post we send out; and using only electronic calendars instead of disposable printed ones. 


These are just some of the ways (some big, some small) we have been trying to make GWS a greener office, but we're always looking for more.

Do you have any further tips on increasing energy efficiency or reducing waste?

Please let us know of any success stories or initiatives in your office you would like to share.

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