10 easy steps to a greener business

There are so many reasons why this year, being more environmentally aware in the office should be top of your list. Fuel bills are rising, many firms are being held accountable for their environmental output and, crucially, many people actively want to ‘do their bit’ to cut back on energy waste and wasteful practices.
Here are a few actions to help your business go green:
1. Switch off lights when a room is not in use. It might seem obvious but in most firms lights are often left on in empty parts of the office where people have left for a meeting or in meeting rooms after use. Put reminder notes by light switches – and if you spot a light on in an empty room, switch it off!
2. Turn your thermostat down. Reducing your office temperature by just 1°C could significantly cut your heating bill.
3. Start a car sharing programme amongst colleagues. Not only will staff reduce carbon emissions, they can also share the rising fuel cost.
4. Making a hot drink? Don’t overfill the office kettle! Boiling water uses a significant amount of energy.
5. Don’t leave office machinery on standby. Turn off your monitor when it’s not in use and unplug printers and scanners at the end of the day. Ask the office manager (or another appointed green person or team) to switch off shared kettles, microwaves etc at the socket at the end of each day.
6. Rather than print out company manuals, reduce paper-use and save them to your company file network so that they can be referenced and updated as and when they are needed. If you’re a small firm without a network, consider investing in inexpensive home NAS network-attached storage.
7. Make further print reductions by asking all staff to consider what they are printing. Emails containing long auto-signatures can often mean additional pages are printed unnecessarily, so ask everyone to copy and paste the content of the message into a word processing document first. Finally, set your printer to operate on a double-sided print setting.
8. If you work in a large firm (of around 250 people or more), ask a member of your IT department whether or not they have investigated ways to improve energy efficiency in IT storage and the data centre through virtualisation and energy-efficient data centre cooling. Oh – and remember to take the stairs to their floor rather than the lift!
9. Hold virtual meetings – reduce transport costs and paper by organising online virtual meetings or conference calls and email agendas and other necessary documentation in pdf format via email.
10. Get everyone involved! For any change programme to work, it must have backing from everyone across the company, from support staff to board-level. Put a green plan in place of six months to a year with associated targets and ensure that all staff are clear about what they can and should do to help.
You can also use an energy monitor such as the EnviR to keep track of energy usage in the office and measure the impact of all your good work!