How to Make Your Office Greener

At Leon Williams Contractors, we put the focus on the jobsites at our commercial construction jobs around East Tennessee, but a great portion of our work is conducted in our office. That’s where we plan projects, organize jobs that are done and those that are still in the works, and where we keep track of other paperwork. So, like many other offices, we’re always looking for ways to cut back, both to save money and to be a little more environmentally friendly.

Running a green office is a good practice for anyone in the construction industry, whether it’s a commercial construction firm or a general contractor. Here are some tips that we’re trying to implement in our offices, and that we suggest for anyone else running an office of any kind.

  1. Make electronics more energy efficient. These days, most work is done on computers. They use a lot of energy, but there are plenty of ways you can cut back. If you can’t afford to overhaul the electronics in your office for new, more energy-efficient models, you can put them on energy-saving settings, which will put them to sleep if they’re not in use. You can leave printers, scanners, or fax machines unplugged until you need them. And be sure you shut everything down at night. A power strip with an on-off switch makes it simple to turn everything off before you leave for the day.
  2. Go digital. This is one of the biggest things we’re trying to implement in our offices. Studies have found that the average worker goes through 10,000 pieces of paper every year. That’s a lot, and we don’t want to be wasteful, so we’ve started trying to make more of our documents digital. You can convert documents to a PDF format to make them easy to file digitally and share with others.
  3. Print smarter. When you do still have to print, do it more thoughtfully than you might have in the past. For documents that are going to stay in-house, such as faxes or drafts, you can use the back of old papers you have lying around. Make it a policy to recycle as much paper as possible, and always buy recycled paper for the office.
  4. Pick better office supplies. It’s easy to get recycled versions of items such as pens and pencils, or you can pick the refillable kind to cut down on waste even more. Most printer cartridges are recyclable as well, and having them refilled can cost less than replacing them with new ones. Think beyond office activities too; pick biodegradable soaps and cleaning products, and recycled paper towels for the kitchen and bathroom. Encourage employees to bring utensils from home for eating their lunch, or provide dishes and flatware that are reusable rather than disposable.
  5. Replace lights. It’s a bit of an upfront cost, but switching lights around the office to compact fluorescent or LED bulbs will end up saving you money on energy costs in the long run. Try putting desks near windows to make use of natural lighting as well and cut down on the need for extra lamps.

A little thought goes a long way in making an office more environmentally friendly. Although it might cost a little more up front, you’ll see in the long run that by making the effort to reduce the amount of materials you use, reuse the ones you have, and recycle as much as possible, you’ll end up saving money. At Leon Williams Contractors, we view anything that makes our business run more efficiently as a good thing.

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