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Sustainable Office Practices HOW TO GREEN YOUR FACILITY Paper Energy Efficiency Water Efficiency Recycling Materials and Resources Waste Indoor Environmental Quality Transportation Categories Existing Conditions / Habits

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Sustainable Office Practices

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Sustainable Office Practices



Energy Efficiency

Water Efficiency


Materials and Resources


Indoor Environmental Quality


steps to make changes
Existing Conditions / Habits

Document existing situation, conditions or results of our habits.

Proposed habit / physical changes

Indicate each modification individually, note the impact this will have over a year, five years and 10 years to the environment, Indicate the cost (if any) for implementing the change, note the cost savings (if any) for the firm.

Implementation Schedule

Propose a schedule for the each proposed item indicating when it can be phased into the office policy or physical environment.

Steps to Make Changes
steps to make changes continued
Implementation Budget

Indicate by Fiscal Year Quarter the cost for implementation for those items that have a capital (first cost) requirement. Indicate the savings to be gained in the first year, five years and 10 years in operating costs. Indicate the payback period for any proposed capital expenditures.


What can we use in our marketing or printed materials to express our commitment to sustainability?

Monitor and Measurement | Communication

What measurements should we collect to assess the impact of the policy over each year to gauge effectiveness. Incorporate “green” discussions into meeting s and make it part of the office culture.

Steps to Make Changes (continued)

Purchase paper that has a high-recycled content.

Purchase paper that is chlorine free during production.

Sold with an accredited environmental or green label that details emission standards and post consumer waste content.

Create a corporate purchasing policy that outlines goals for paper buying.

Buy products wrapped in the least packing or buy in bulk.

Paper Saving Techniques

Mandatory double-sided printing and copying (duplex units for printers).

Use line spacing of no more than 1.5.

Use of e-mail, voicemail, and pdfs to minimize paper use.

Green printing standards, printing documents that are as short as possible (smaller font and wider margins).

Print less, keep mailing lists current and don’t overprint.

Reduce unwanted mail you receive and share subscriptions.

paper continued
Equipment use and paper saving

Educate staff on how to set printers and preferences to print double-sided.

Use commenting and mark-up toolbars to add notes to drawings and documents, rather than printing and marking up by hand. Train employees to be familiar with these tools.

Save one-sided abandoned output and discarded papers for fax machines, notes and scarp paper.

Retain documents on your computer rather than in hard copies to save paper and space.

Add to bottom of emails:

Consider the environment. Please don't print this e-mail unless you really need to.

Paper (continued)
energy efficiency
Energy Savings

Encourage employees to turn off all equipment at night, including lights, computers, monitors, and photocopiers.

Use daylighting when possible and turn off lights when area is not in use.

Use a programmable thermostat to set the temperature.

Use powersave features on copiers, etc. during the day.

Turn equipment completely off – standby mode still uses significant power.

Replace incandescent lights with compact fluorescent lights or LED lights throughout the building.

They use approximately 1/4 the power of incandescent bulbs, last 8 times as long

Transition to LCD monitors.

They use approximately 1/4 the power of CRT monitors.

Keep records and inform employees of how much energy is used by the office. Set goals to reduce energy consumption.

When purchasing new equipment, consider energy-efficiency. Give preference to equipment with low power usage and Energy Star compliance.

Make sure windows and doors are properly weather-proofed.

Regular maintenance of heating system. Confirm piping is fully insulated.

Energy Efficiency
energy efficiency continued
Green Electricity

Purchase green power (0.5¢ minimum premium per kWh)

Promoting Green Energy and Energy Savings

Encourage employees to employ energy savings techniques at home.

Encourage employees, clients, and consultants to reduce printing through electronic communication and documentation.

Inform the community about your energy usage progress.

Energy Efficiency (continued)
water efficiency

Use native plants and drought-resistant plants.

Reuse rainwater for irrigation.

Find and Fix Leaks

Check for leaks by turning water off and taking 2 readings several minutes apart.

Check faucets for dripping. A dripping tap could waste as much as 90 liters per week.

New Fittings

Transition to low-flow fixtures, including toilets and faucets. Arrange for recycling old fixtures.

Fit spray inserts in often-used taps. These reduce the amount of water from the faucet but don’t reduce washing efficiency.

Water Efficiency
water efficiency continued
Efficient water use within the office

Ensure staff is aware of need to be water-efficient.

Communicate measures taken by company, progress and participation that is needed to make the plan work.

Water Pollution

Reduce the volume and concentration of pollutants entering the water treatment works, rivers and beaches.

Use environmentally preferable products where possible. Many products now have a green alternative.

Use accredited biodegradable detergents in washrooms, kitchens and toilets. Many are available and are now comparable in quality and price.

Don’t wash oils, solvent, paints or thinners down sinks or drains. Store them in a safe container and take to an authorized collection centre or community paint store for reuse.

Water Efficiency (continued)
Recycling Techniques

Institute a recycling program through a recycler (city or private service).

Collect paper, metal (cans), plastic bottles, cardboard and glass (bottles) inside office space.

Ensure staff is aware of recycling program (what can be recycled, how the process works).

Assign a Recycling “Champion” that runs the program.

Train responsible personnel for taking collected materials to outside container (office staff or custodial staff).

Provide each workspace with a recycling container and have centralized larger containers as well.

Recycle printer and toner cartridges.

Collect hazardous items, such as batteries, and provide for appropriate disposal.

Collect re-useable items, such as old magazines, old IT equipment and scrap workshop materials, and arrange for donation to local schools or libraries.

Hard to Recycle Products

Contact original supplier to see if they have a ‘take back’ policy or recycling plan (does this apply to any products we consume?).

Reduce the amount of ‘hard to recycle’ products the company consumes. This will ultimately reduce waste costs.

Strive to recycle or dispose of products in an environmentally responsible manner.

Refer to www.keepnorfolkbeautiful (recycling) for un updated recycling directory on where to take unusual items for proper disposal.

recycling continued

Remind staff how and what to recycle, and give progress updates.

Make sure there is commitment from top management Make sure they participate in recycling too.

Offer incentives or contests to encourage recycling.

Post signs throughout office encouraging recycling and reminding employees what can be recycled.

Monitoring and Communication

Keep records of how much is recycled per week or per month:


Reams of paper

Metal cans and plastic bottles

Recycling (continued)
materials and resources
Materials and Resources
  • Waste management
  • Divert debris from waste stream through reuse.
  • Provide clearly marked areas for recycling.
  • Cut down on the need to have paper plates, etc. by providing dishes and a place to wash them. Encourage employees to bring reusable lunch items.
  • Local resources
  • Purchase materials and supplies that were manufactured within a 500 mile radius.
  • Purchase materials and supplies that were extracted within a 500 mile radius.
  • Purchases
  • Purchase materials and supplies with high post-consumer recycled content.
  • Purchase non-toxic and biodegradable cleaning products.
indoor environmental quality
Indoor Air Quality

No-smoking policy within the building. No smoking within 20 ft of entrances.

Provide natural plants which absorb office chemicals and promote a healthy atmosphere: in particular, leafy plants which require regular watering such as Azalea, Philodendron, Spider plant, Bamboo, Chrysanthemum, Poinsettia, or Peace lily.

Choose cleaning products that are toxin-free.

Locate printers as far from work areas as reasonable (preferably in separately ventilated rooms).

Use low-VOC paints.

Physical Health

Educate staff about ergonomic position of work area.

Provide healthy and nutritious meal choices.

Mental Health

Encourage employees to take breaks away from their desks.

Help employees learn through lunch and learn presentations.

Indoor Environmental Quality
A green transport plan aiming to reduce the environmental impact of travel associated with work.


Reduce reliance on the car, especially for single-occupancy journeys.

Promote the use of alternative means of transportation.

To reduce emissions and encourage the purchase of energy efficient vehicles.

To encourage work practices which reduce the need to travel.

transport continued
Promote alternatives

Public Transport: Prepare a public transport pack with prices and times of routes taken to work and on work business.

Bicycle: Install shower and changing facilities during office refurbishment for those bicycling, running or walking to work.

Provide a secure place at work to store bikes.

Car: Encourage staff to carpool by providing a list of employees and neighborhoods they live in.

Audio and Video-Conferencing: Minimize carbon dioxide emissions generated by business travel by using e-mail, video conferencing and Go To meetings to avoid traveling whenever possible.

Incentive: Provide employees with incentive to use alternate transport with rewards or benefits.

Change schedules to promote less frequent travel associated with work (example 9 hour days and every other Friday off).

Transport (continued)
helpful resources
EPA Resources for Non-Profit Organizations-

EPA Energy Star Program – (good tech support)

EPA Waste Wise -

San Francisco Bay Area Green Business Program –

LEED- Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design -

Helpful Resources