How to Have a Truly Green Office Space

by Everyday on June 7, 2011

Going green in your office means more than just concluding all your emails with “save a tree and don’t print this!” If your goal is to have a truly environmentally-friendly office, you’ll need to carefully examine every aspect of the space, from interior design to maintenance.

WaIls. The Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) found in most commercial paints can emit harmful gases for years after the intoxicating fresh paint aroma has faded. Opt for plant or mineral-based paint, or choose an attractive wallpaper made from reclaimed paper pulp.

Truly Green Office How to Have a Truly Green Office Space

Floors. Atop-quality finish is a must-have for enhancing and protecting the natural beauty of wood floors. Water-based polyurethane finishes are the most environmentally-friendly, and are just as effective as other types. For carpeting, opt for untreated wool with hessian backing (not latex).

Furniture. Modern office furniture is often seething with chemical fire retardants, synthetic stain resistant coatings and other toxic ingredients, including carcinogens. Shop around for materials such as wood (but not from old-growth forests, please!), natural latex rubber, or wicker.Some beautiful eco-friendly furniture coverings include hemp, organic cotton, natural silk or wool.

Paper.It goes without saying that all paper in an eco-conscious office should be both recycled and recyclable. But there’s much more you can do to minimize paper use. Switch to an electronic client database and make it a policy never to print records unless absolutely necessary. Save and send faxes electronically. Take noteson a digital pad or speak them into a voice recorder.

Cleaning. Your office doesn’t magically clean itself at the end of the day, does it? Find out if your janitorial service uses environmentally safe cleaning products. For most offices, plain old vinegar and water is all that’s needed to maintain hygiene and freshness. And yes, those flower-print paper towels are cute, but they release dyes into the earth. Instead, use cloth rags for clean-ups.

In addition to the five points mentioned above, there are a ton of other areas in which you can reduce your office’s environmental footprint.

How many ways can you think of to go green in your office?

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