Being eco-friendly is about sustainable products, goods, supplies, laws and policies which aim to reduce, minimise or bring no harm to our environment. Previously, eco-friendly practices were limited to reducing, re-using and re-cycling. However, modern practices now include repairing, re-purposing and rethinking business practices as well.
According to a 2015 report by the Heriot Watt University entitled ‘The Growth of the Green Office Market in the UK’, the growth of green offices was initially slow. At the time of research, ‘green’ offices represented only 12% of all office space and 2.7% of green buildings in the UK. Most green buildings and green office spaces were also found in major cities such as London.
However, it is important for businesses to understand that adopting eco-friendly practices can not only reduce operation costs, but also improve their brand value. Having a green space is now necessary for adopting sustainable business practices, especially if you are a start-up business.
Following are some cost-effective ways of making your office more eco-friendly.
1. Maximise Natural Light/Install Renewable Energy Systems
Renewable energy systems are a one-time investment which can bring about long-term savings. While there are a variety of renewable energy sources available, solar panels remain the most popular. Another great way to minimise the use of artificial light is to install glass windows or walls facing the sun. Many start-up green offices adopt this technique as it requires minimum investment.
2. Opt for Modular Offices
A modular office can be customised to suit your business needs. The cost of constructing or buying one of these offices is almost 50% less than building a traditional office. Modern modular offices are constructed using recyclable and eco-friendly materials. The office infrastructure includes double-glazing and high-tech insulation to minimise the use of energy which is required to maintain a specific temperature and level of humidity in the office.
The most important feature of a modular office is its custom and flexible design, which can be easily adapted to suit your specific needs. Modular offices can be either portable or permanent and offer a wide range of basic or luxurious fixtures and fittings. They can also be built in a variety of sizes which minimises your investment as you only pay for required workspace. You can always move to a larger modular office when expanding your business.
A modular office may comprise of single or multiple rooms, multiple stories or even an entire building. Except for single-room modular offices, all other designs include separate meeting areas, conference rooms, waiting areas and even canteens. It is a great way to minimise costs and convert your workspace into a green office.
3. Install Mirrors
You will need an expert interior designer who can mark the positions for mirrors in a way that they will reflect artificial light effectively. This can serve to visibly brighten up your office space without needing excessive artificial light, thereby reducing energy costs by at least 50%.
4. Minimise the Use of Paper
Digitalise your operations and minimise the use of paper. Even if you need to use paper for business operations, make sure to install separate bins for paper. As paper is a recyclable material, you can incorporate the ‘reusing and recycling’ policy to maintain an eco-friendly environment.
5. Install Bins for Recyclable Waste
Many kinds of recyclable materials such as glass and aluminium tins are sent to waste disposal plants. You can install separate bins for recyclable materials and send the contents to recycling plants. This practice can considerably minimise waste. Make sure to send a notice to all employees with a list of materials and items that can be recycled.
6. Encourage Carpooling
You can minimise fuel consumption and carbon release in the environment by providing a van service to your employees or by encouraging the practice of carpooling. This can minimise the travelling cost of your employees as well.
7. Regulate Energy Consumption
If you already use renewable energy sources, then installing motion sensors is an ideal way to minimise energy wastage in your office. Install motion sensors in lights, water taps and machines for hand sanitisers and soap dispensers to ensure reduced wastage of resources and energy.
Reduced cost of operations not only maximises your investments but also increases your productivity and reduces financial stress. Many businesses have multiplied their business gains by incorporating corporate social responsibility in their vision and mission which has increased their brand value in the market. The concept of eco-friendly business practices is still growing and by adopting sustainable practices now, you can make your business stand out in the market!