Cool, Affordable, and Green Office Ideas
The traditional office space has a variety of opportunities for improving sustainability and energy efficiency. While some drastic changes can be made in completely remodeling the office to meet modern green building requirements, some smaller, more affordable changes can be made that will still have significant impacts on office energy usage, among other things, in the long run.
Here are a few cool, affordable office ideas that can help turn your office greener.
One of the easiest ways to promote green practices in the office is through sustainable or energy efficient office supplies. For example, staple-less staplers such as these provide the convenience of a stapler without the need for metal staples. Instead, the device pokes a small hole into the papers and tucks it into a slit to hold the papers together. It has also grown increasingly common in green office initiatives to switch to refillable pens to eliminate any unnecessary plastic waste reaching the landfills.
A more recent development in office energy efficiency is the “smart” surge protector. These smart strips monitor energy usage for all devices that are plugged in and are capable of completely cutting power if left idle for too long. They are also able to cut off power to any peripheral devices (printers, speakers, etc.) after the main device (computer) is turned off. These devices make it much easier to monitor energy usage from idle devices, and ultimately save the office money on energy costs.
Offices can also make certain changes to their lighting practices that will have a significant impact on energy usage. First, switching from standard incandescent light bulbs to compact fluorescent lamps or LED bulbs will decrease energy usage by a whopping 75 percent while still producing identical light outputs. Also, switching to lighter paint colors will reflect sunlight more effectively than dark, reducing the amount of artificial light needed during the day.
Combining the office’s lighting system with a daylight sensor can reduce electricity use from about 40 to 60 percent. These sensors are able to capture data on illuminance levels coming from a natural light source and adjust the luminosity of the artificial lights within the office. This not only decreases overall energy consumption, but also makes the energy saving process much simpler and efficient.
An office environment is also subject to air loss due to improperly sealed windows and doors, thus creating unstable temperatures in the building and increasing energy used to continuously cool or heat the space. Thus, caulking and weather-stripping areas where air loss is detected will minimize heat loss from windows and doors, decreasing overall energy use.
Offices may also opt to install “smart” thermostats to aid in managing temperatures on a daily basis. These thermostats use algorithms to learn and respond to patterns of use in a space and adjust temperatures accordingly. These thermostats are constantly monitoring energy use and are designed to minimize consumption while also being extremely convenient and intuitive to use.
What kind of green practices are you using in your office today? Let us know in the comments!