Office Design

Green facilities management and sustainability

David Spence
April 30th, 2014

Going green is much more than just a buzzword; sustainability is an efficient and effective way of living and working that isn’t going anywhere, especially in facilities management. Companies can no longer ignore the environment like they used to and expect to stay in business for the long-haul. Especially if you want to attract young talent and millennial workers, you need to appeal to greener values. 

Thinking about implementing more sustainable practices? Here are some different ways you can help to create a greener office, for the benefit of your team, your company and the environment.

Offer incentives for sustainable commuting

The daily commute is a huge polluter. Encourage employees to carpool, take the train or bus, or bike or walk to work. To make this a feasible alternative, you could consider installing showers in the office bathrooms for those who bike or give out awards, gift cards, or compensation for those who choose alternative transport.

Introduce or refine an office recycling program

Did you know that 90 percent of office waste is recyclable? This can make deciding what needs to be recycled vs. thrown away a monumental task. Start off your recycling efforts slowly, with the basics of recycling paper, plastic, cans, and glass. Eventually, your office can work its way up to electronics and other large items, which may have special requirements for proper recycling. 

Chances are you already have a recycling system setup for paper and paper products. But do you have a system for your office kitchen for both recycling and composting? Do you track paper use? Do you have a system in place for properly recycling old electronics? How about properly disposing of batteries? Research local recycling solutions and create a filing system for all waste products at the office. Waste Management sums up a great approach to corporate sustainability best practices.


Replace outdated lighting systems

Lighting can be a huge drain on your energy bill. Not only that, but having to replace inefficient lights every month can really increase the amount of waste your office produces. Install energy efficient bulbs and lighting setups to reduce overall energy consumption. This can include things like ensuring that LED bulbs or used, or adjusting your building automation system to automate blinds to increase natural light.


Encourage remote working

Encouraging employees to work from home can result in huge savings. It can not only help to reduce emissions that occur during daily commutes, but will also have an impact on in-office sustainability, reducing waste products, and more. As an added bonus, working from home can make your workers happier and more productive.


Implement a sustainable cleaning program

To really make a company eco-friendly, a green cleaning program is a must. Cleaning is a necessary part of the building’s daily upkeep, which makes it a crucial area for improvement. It’s important to first review the current products the custodians use to see which products need to be changed. According to James Piper’s piece on green cleaning, products rated by Green Seal, EcoLogo or the EPA’s Design for the Environment Program are all good investments. Complete buy-in from both the facilities management team as well as the custodial staff is also essential in order to manage and track the program.

Image courtesy of lamnee/, Pixabay, annca, Mohamed Khaled, bruce mars