How to Make Your NJ Office Space Eco-Friendly
In order to help the environment, we must all do our part – from not using plastic straws, to carrying a reusable cup or sorting through our garbage for recyclable items. Many people are unaware that plastics can be recycled , and as a result, sadly, many recyclables end up going into the trash. Be sure to look at your community’s website for more information.
So today we thought we’d talk about making your office space a little bit greener – because recycling isn’t all there is to eco-friendliness. If you want to do your part for the environment, you can make a huge contribution by making some simple changes to your NJ office space. Here are some tips:
Use natural light as much as possible
If you’re still in the process of looking for an office space, make sure you get one that’s nice and bright, so you don’t have to use artificial light during the day. Lights don’t consume a whole lot of electricity compared to air conditioners and other electric-hungry machines, but the amount does add up over time.
If your office maintains a normal 9-5 schedule, then in a bright office space with minimal furniture and brightly-colored walls, you may have to use artificial light for less than an hour every day! This will add up over time and save you lots of money, and go a long way in reducing your business’ carbon footprint.
Reduce your HVAC usage
Cutting heating and cooling costs will benefit your business, and you’ll also be helping the environment heaps if you use that much less electricity. The key to reducing your HVAC usage is having a well-insulated office with large windows. This means having high-quality, modern windows.
In the winter you can keep the windows shut to keep the cold weather out, and during summer you can throw them open to catch a breeze. It’s also a good idea to use fans rather than air conditioners, since they use a lot less energy.
Sort through your garbage
Your NJ office space will generate waste, and you can make a huge difference by sorting through it and making sure you put it into the right bin. Paper, cardboard, metal and intact glass bottles can usually be recycled, as well as tin cans, plastic bottles, and various other materials.
In fact, there are garbage removal companies you can hire, which will go through your garbage, sort it, and dispose of it all properly for you. If you do some spring cleaning or move into a new space and find yourself with a huge heap of garbage, this is an excellent option.
Nevertheless, sorting your garbage is an excellent habit that’ll help the environment tremendously over time. Educate your employees about what can and can’t be recycled, and make sure you have different bins in the office for your various recyclables. By encouraging your employees to sort their garbage at the office, you may even help them form the habit at home!
Most offices are buried under paper. Stacks of files, legal documents, and what-not. Not only does it require a large amount of space and a complex filing system to maintain, but it’s also not very good for the environment. Some would argue that paper is a natural product and that when discarded it decomposes, but it requires energy to create, package and ship to you, and not all paper is 100% natural.
So instead, go digital! We covered the process of digitization in detail in one of our past blogs, so feel free to go through our website to look for tips to make your NJ office space paperless.
Clean your digital clutter
You may think this is in contradiction to what we just said – that is, go digital – but it’s actually not. Allow us to explain. Maintaining data servers uses energy, and in today’s increasingly digital world we’re spending enormous amounts of energy to maintain all of it. So, whether it’s a Facebook account you barely use, a Google drive full of photos you hardly look at, or a specially-made filing system with unnecessary files, it all uses energy.
So we recommend that once every couple years, you go through your data and get rid of everything that’s no longer needed. This includes emails, files, folders, accounts, etc. We accumulate an astounding amount of digital clutter over time, and clearing it will not only reduce pressure on our energy banks, but it’ll also make you feel enormously productive, because it doesn’t take a lot of time to do!
Use locally sourced wood for furniture
If you’ve just acquired a new NJ office space (or need to build some more furniture for extra offices), instead of using plastic products that will one day end up in a landfill, consider using locally-sourced wood.
While forests being cut down is a major concern, using local, fast-growing wood is definitely better than going for exotic options that need to be trucked in from across the country, or synthetic materials that need to be created from scratch in a factory.
Wood is very long-lasting and sturdy, which is another wonderful benefit of using it as a building material. Your furniture will last a long time, and when it does come to the end of its life, it can easily be recycled. Now, there’s a fine line between doing something just enough and overdoing it, so make sure you don’t cross it. Deforestation is, as we said, still a bad thing!
Use energy-efficient electronics
Even if you limit your HVAC usage and use natural light as much as possible, you will need artificial lights, ACs, computers, etc. However, one thing you can do here is pick energy-efficient options that use less electricity than other similar electronics would. Energy-efficiency is a very desirable feature in most electronics, so you’ll find this info easily on whatever you want to purchase.
When swapping out old electronics for new ones, make sure to recycle the old ones! You can also donate them, if they’re still functional. Taking appliances and electronics in for recycling is free, and you actually get incentives for some of them.
Reduce use-and-throw culture
Most office spaces have a coffee machine, and many offer snacks such as granola bars, chips, nuts etc. for their employees. While we think it’s a good idea to offer coffee and snacks, these inevitably lead to more waste being created, in the form of disposable coffee cups, chip packets, etc. Most of these plastics aren’t recyclable (especially since they’re food stained), so this adds to the garbage problem.
Make a change by reducing the use-and-throw culture at your office space. Provide your employees with reusable cutlery so they can go outside to grab a snack without having to use a plastic knife and fork. Use reusable coffee cups in the office. Offer snacks that come in cardboard boxes, or buy in bulk and store the snacks in large containers.
Use eco-friendly building materials
When you’re getting your office ready for moving in, you have the option between eco-friendly and not-so-eco-friendly materials. Some options, such as tile, are more eco-friendly because of the materials they’re made with and their durability. Some others, like exotic hardwood or laminate, aren’t because they need a lot of maintenance, and getting them to you requires a lot of energy.
Go with something simple and local. You should be able to find out what options are best by asking the contractor you’re working with. Whether it’s the floors, the windows, the paint or the furniture, it’s really important to use eco-friendly building materials in your NJ office space.
Educate your workforce
It’s one thing to take measures to make your own office space green, but by educating your workforce about the need and the benefits, you’ll have an exponential effect. Your employees may get inspired and make changes in their lifestyle and habits, which in turn could encourage their family and friends to make changes in turn. As an employer you’re in a great position to spread awareness and make a difference, so make use of it!
So these were some of our best tips for reducing the carbon footprint of your NJ office space. We’ve also covered minimalism in the past, which, we feel, is in a similar category and can help you further optimize your office space.
Finding the Perfect NJ Office Space for Your Company
As you’ve seen, many of these tips rely on having a good office space to begin with. You can’t change how eco-friendly the building is or how big the windows are once you’ve rented an office. So, in order to make sure you find a place that ticks all the right boxes (even if you forget what those were), you need professional help.
If you’re looking for the perfect NJ office space, reach out to Blau & Berg! Whatever your priorities – cost, location, size, brightness – we’ll make sure you find something that’s perfect for your company and staff. We’re an experienced real estate company with decades of experience, and our experts will help you find the perfect space at a more-than-reasonable price. Contact us for help today!