When you make small changes to the space in which you work, the ripple effect has a positive effect on both you and the environment. With so much emphasis on sustainability and stewardship of natural resources, it’s time to consider these green office ideas to become more environmentally conscious.

Optimize natural light

Place desks near windows to optimize the use of natural light whenever possible. Open blinds, curtains, and shades so that the lights can be kept off while natural light streams in. Not only is this a green office idea that’s good for the environment, but views of nature and the warmth of the sun supports emotional health, too. 

Swap the bulbs

When you need to use lights, choose energy efficient options. At their desk, employees need about 300 Lux, while breakout spaces should be approximately 150-200 Lux. Use smart plugs that turn on and off at preset times of the day to save additional energy. Lighting affects mood, so swapping to better lighting is both a green office idea and one that has a positive effect on employee productivity and wellbeing.

Add plants 

Plants clean the air in your office environment. They absorb the carbon dioxide we don’t need and combine it with water and light to produce energy (a process called photosynthesis). Plants and Indoor Environmental Quality Research Group found that indoor plants can help reduce carbon dioxide levels by about 10% in air-conditioned offices, and by about 25% in buildings without air conditioning.

Adjust your thermostat

Moderate your temperature by turning it down two degrees in the winter and up in the summer. This small adjustment can save up to 2,000lbs of carbon dioxide per year. For greater impact, opt for a smart thermostat that adapts to the space and adjusts heat appropriately to be more environmentally conscious.  

Re-design your bathrooms

Installing a hand dryer is a green office idea that reduces single-use paper options still used in many offices. Print out water-saving tips and place them on the bathroom mirrors to remind people how to conserve water while still washing their hands safely. Finally, add an automatic faucet that turns off when hands are no longer under the faucet.   

Swap cleaning products

Say yes to environmentally friendly cleaning products instead of traditional ones that leave harsh chemical residue in your space. Many of these products can be refilled in reusable bottles, which also reduces carbon footprint. Making the swap to this green office idea will reduce VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and leave the office space smelling fresh. Many of these products are animal cruelty-free as well.

Practice smarter trash disposal

While employees may initially balk at not having their own trash can, having a community trash can helps reduce waste. Employees will begin to pause before printing or mindlessly disposing of trash. They’re more likely to recycle when the disposal bins are well marked in a community space. Choose compostable garbage bags for the kitchen or break room as well for an additional green office idea. 

Green office ideas are abundant. As your organization begins to make these small shifts in your workplace, you will continue on the path to promoting better health for people and the environment.