The Great Forest Green Office Sustainability Checklist will help you jumpstart or fine tune your sustainability efforts at work. While there are many more things you can do, beginning with items on this list will give you a solid foundation and push you further along on the sustainability maturation curve. We will update this list so check back regularly for new tips.
Green supply procurement
- Look for items with high “post-consumer” content (when applicable).
- Obtain items that are either recyclable or biodegradable.
- Consolidate orders and buy in bulk.
Paper and Printing
- Use 30-100% post-consumer recycled content paper.
- Avoid bleached paper.
- Seek out products with third party certification eg: Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
- Use electronic files in favor of printed files whenever possible.
- Set double-sided printing as the standard instructions for printing.
- Share supplies rather than provide one per office eg: staplers, hole punches, printers.
- Set up an area for supplies that can be used over and over again, like inter-office mail envelopes, binders and folders.
- Update existing devices rather than buy new ones.
- Perform regular maintenance to ensure long life of equipment.
- When all else fails, repurpose equipment or recycle them responsibly through an e-waste program.
- Procure locally sourced furniture manufactured with sustainable forestry practices (FSC).
- Look for furniture made from post-consumer recycled or repurposed materials.
Reduce Energy Consumption
- Shut down computers at the end of the day.
- Turn off monitors if you are stepping out for more than 15 minutes.
- Unplug your vampire electronics – gadgets that consume standby power even when not in use. Anything that uses a remote control is very likely a vampire. According to the EPA, an extra $10 billion is racked up in energy costs each year due to idle gadgets. If unplugging is not practical, use a “smart” power strip that can shut down an outlet after sensing a gadget has gone into standby mode.
- Replace traditional bulbs with energy-efficient lighting like compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and light emitting diodes (LEDs). CFLs cost about 75% less to operate, and last about 10 times longer. LED lights use about 85 % less energy compared to standard incandescent bulbs.
- Switch off the lights and use daylight when possible.
- Maintain office thermostats to be no higher than 68° F in the winter and no lower than 80° F in the summer to reduce energy consumption.
- Send out reminder emails containing energy-saving tips before peak vacation periods like long holiday weekends or summer.
- Purchase fair-trade organic coffee.
- Encourage the use of reusable mugs, plates and silverware at the workplace.
- Send a reminder e-mail pre-meeting or event to remind everyone to bring their own mug if beverages will be served.
- Promote a bike friendly workplace by providing bike lock-up and information about showers/lockers if available.
- Set up a carpool board in the workplace.
- Encourage the use of public transportation.
- Try to cut down on staff travel by using videoconferencing and conference calls when possible.