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Green Workplaces: A Guide to Turning Your Office Eco-Friendly

Green Workplaces: A Guide to Turning Your Office Eco-Friendly 12 August 2021

In the modern era, being environmentally friendly and sustainable are key to facilities management and businesses in all industries to save money, time, and contribute to the wider green initiatives and expectations in the UK. Turning your business into a green workplace will benefit not just the environment but the business as a whole.

What is a Green Workplace?

A green workplace can be defined as “a workplace that is environmentally sensitive, resource efficient, and socially responsible.” This involves adapting as the world of business and economics evolves, as well as adopting new sustainable strategies in line with the business’ budget and profit needs. Green workplaces are encouraged by the UK government, with an array of environmental taxes, reliefs, and schemes for businesses to reward operating in sustainable and eco-friendly ways.

Set Sustainability Goals and Targets

Getting started with sustainability can feel like being thrown into the deep end. Make sure to set clear, attainable sustainability goals and targets by analysing your available resources and working out what you’re able to achieve. Going fully green may take several years, especially if it requires structural changes to the building, so consider a realistic timeline for your green initiatives.

Increasing Facility Energy Efficiency

Many factors contribute to your workplace’s overall energy efficiency. These factors are typically closely linked with ‘hard services’ in facility management such as mechanical, electrical, and construction. A commercial building will receive an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) rating calculated based on several factors: the type of construction of the building; whether different parts/zones of the building are used for different purposes; the HVAC and plumbing systems used; the lighting used throughout the building. Improving upon these EPC factors will increase your facility’s energy efficiency.

For lighting, simple upgrades such as LED bulbs can provide quick and easy improvement to your energy efficiency. If you’re able to invest more money and time, there are also smart lighting systems available to improve the efficiency of your building’s lighting. These include “energy-efficient light fixtures, automatic light dimmers and lighting systems that connect to occupancy sensors, motion detectors or daylight sensors.” Many new buildings will be built with these energy-efficient systems in mind; however, old buildings can still benefit from these improvements with retroactive fitting.

Reducing Energy Consumption

Encourage your employees and visitors to reduce their energy consumption. British Gas suggests everyday ways you can save energy in the workplace: never leave lights on in unoccupied rooms; switch off appliances that are not in use; and make use of blinds and curtains. Alongside building improvements, everyday changes such as these can go a long way.

Recycling and Waste Disposal

Employ the three R’s in your waste management: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Ensure your building has efficient waste disposal methods available and help reduce landfill waste by providing reusable and recyclable alternatives. For example, you can discourage the use of single-use plastic by providing refillable water bottles to employees.

Green Cleaning

Furthermore, as part of your facilities’ cleaning regime, you can use eco-friendly refillable cleaning products. Not only will using non-toxic, eco-friendly cleaning products benefit your sustainability and not pollute nearby water with toxic chemicals, “they can also provide a safer working environment for your team.”

Planned Preventative Maintenance

Planned preventative maintenance throughout the year helps to reduce the need for urgent reactive repairs as equipment should break less. Alongside saving money and assets in the long term, this helps reduce waste from non-working parts and machinery.

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