Green Your Workplace in Six Steps Without Driving Your Coworkers Nuts

The typical office is a battleground of personal tastes and habits. So what, then, is the environmentally-conscious worker...

The typical office is a battleground of personal tastes and habits. So what, then, is the environmentally-conscious worker to do? How could you possible work to "green" your workspace without becoming the the office nuisance? We talked to Roberto Rhett, the director of Green Spaces NY, an eco-friendly co-working office share, about how to lower the impact of your workplace without driving all your coworkers nuts. Here are six easy tips:

1. Switch your energy provider to 100 percent alternative power sources. Green Spaces NY uses Community Energy Inc. through ConEdison Solutions. Its only a few cents more expensive but you are voting with your dollars and this is something that will not affect staff in any way! [For renewable energy anywhere, check out Green-e.

2. Change the light bulbs in the office. If you find good quality, high efficiency bulbs, there's no negative impact on your co-workers, but the energy savings are significant.

3. Work on sourcing more sustainable supplies—from 100 percent recycled paper to cleaning products to fair trade coffee. The Green Office has great selection, and the price premium generally isn't prohibitive. (At Green Spaces NY, they also use a sodastream machine so that workers can make bubbly bevs without having to buy cans of soda from a vending machine.

4. Recycling and composting can quickly cut down up to 2/3 of your waste stream. Recycling is relatively easy: put big, well-labeled bins everywhere there's a trash can. Composting is tougher, and messier. But if you do work with a gung-ho bunch, why not go ahead and buy a planter for the window and you can grow tomatoes or other veggies using the compost as nutrient rich soil.

5. Use timers. For the thermostat, so that the office isn't unnecessarily heated or cooled when nobody's in there. For the computers when they're not in use. For lights when nobody's in a room. Nobody is effected because nobody's there!

6. For new furniture—desks, couches, tables—vintage and refurbished items are generally popular, since it creates a bit of character for a workspace. It also obviously prevents them from ending up in the landfill, and cuts down demand for new goods to be produced.

For good measure, I'd like to add one:

** Plants! Everyone loves plants. Nobody does not like plants. Plants keep office air fresher and cleaner, make workers feel better, and plenty of studies have shown that they actually increase workplace productivity. So get some greenery up in there.

Photo (cc) by Flickr user Office Now

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