Sustainability is increasingly being recognised as a vitally important issue for organisations and businesses of all kinds in the UK and elsewhere. Ever-greater efforts are being made to ensure that companies can shrink their carbon footprints and making office spaces more energy efficient and eco-friendly is a key element of that endeavour.
So how do you make office spaces greener?
Here are five key areas to focus on as recommended by WRAP (the UK’s Waste & Resources Action Programme) in its latest report on the subject.
1 – Monitor your use of resources
Using effective methods of measuring and monitoring your organisation’s use of resources is a crucial first step towards making your office more environmentally friendly. Reliability and consistency is key as information is gathered on how much energy an office space uses each month and how much waste it is responsible for over a specific period.
2 – Draw comparisons
Once you’ve managed to gather up as much relevant data as you can find relating to the energy use and waste for which your offices are responsible, that information should be compared and contrasted in various ways that serve to highlight where improvements might be made. An organisation might, for example, compare the energy use of its various departments or monitor how much paper each of its offices use each month. Over time, these kind of comparisons should show very clearly where efforts to reduce waste or energy use should be focussed.
3 – Prevent waste or recycle
A key message that WRAP aims to get across to businesses and to anyone operating offices of any size is that preventing the creation of waste is very important in the battle to become more eco-friendly. There might well be instances in which waste creation cannot be avoided, in which case recycling options should be pursued wherever possible and sending waste materials to landfills should only ever be considered as a last resort.
4 – Reassess purchasing policies
WRAP points out that there is often a lack of joined up thinking and communication on key issues relating to waste prevention and management within organisations of all sizes. Often the real problem is that insufficient consideration is given to the life cycle of particular types of products as they are purchased. Therefore, efficiency and sustainability should more frequently be considered as a matter of priority as purchasing decisions are made, rather than long after they’ve been decided upon and pushed through.
5 – Deploy energy-efficient solutions
Using less energy to heat, cool and light office spaces is perhaps the most obvious way in which workspaces can be made less damaging to the environment. There are a growing variety of ways in which technologies can be deployed to make office space energy use more efficient and any organisation that is serious about going green should certainly be looking to install at least some of the latest energy-saving solutions.