Greening your furniture is a great way to ease landfill pressure, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save forests, and prevent toxic chemicals from entering the natural environment, not to mention it can be fun and look good too. Look for furniture that is manufactured from recycled materials, and when it’s time to finally get rid of your old office chairs, among other things, donate them to charity, schools, ect. or do a quick Google search to see if they can be recycled near by. Furniture that is manufactured out of sustainable materials such as bamboo is also wonderful and stylish. Herman-Miller and Steelcase are two great companies that utilize Cradle-to-Cradle methods for many of their office chairs.
Green office design truly lightens the mood and according to Discovery’s Planet Green “has been proven to improve worker productivity and satisfaction as well as boost sales in retail settings.” Natural light is very important. Whether your office is already designed or in the process look into installing skylights, more windows or adding onto pre-existing ones. If your window shades are down, pull them up and let in the sun. All of these tips will enable you to turn off some lights saving you money on your energy bill and CO2 emissions. Often times the money saved on your energy bill over the course of several years will offset the costs of redesign. Another key ingredient to green office design is good ventilation. This will allow you to cut down on the use of AC, which uses tremendous amounts of energy. So open some windows! According to the EPA, the air inside buildings, regardless of their location, is usually 2 to 5 times more polluted then the outside air in the largest and most industrialized cities because of toxic chemicals (that go airborn) found in paints, furniture, cleaning detergents, carpets and other indoor goods, so employees will be healthier and happier with good ventilation. Another great trick for greening the office atmosphere is plants! Lots and lots of plants! Plants are our earth’s natural air purifiers and they make for a much more relaxing working environment. Try putting small ones on desks and big ones in corners. Even hang a few viny ones from the ceiling. Who doesn’t want to work in a lush paradise?