24 Sustainability Tips For The Office

In the guide below, we list and explain potential sustainability tips for the office.

We cover energy, lighting, going paperless, and more.

This guide may complement other guides we’ve put together on general ways businesses might be more sustainable, and also other potential sustainable business practices


1. Go Electronic/Paperless Where Possible

It may be possible to go electronic/paperless in some instances, such as for some documents, bills, and correspondence/communication.

This may help reduce paper waste, and also the transport footprint of sending paper to recipients.


2. Consider Using Sustainable Paper

Sometimes using physical paper is required for some applications.

In this instance, more sustainable paper might include:

– Paper that is made of a certain % of recycled content

– Is certified in some sustainable way, such as FSC Certified, or paper that is guaranteed not to have come from forestries that involve deforestation


3. Use Both Sides Of Paper

For writing and also printing (via double sided printing), it might be more sustainable to use both sides of the paper where practical.


4. Consider Sustainable/Eco Friendly Printing

Sustainable/eco friendly printing can include a range of things

For example, it can involve considering eco friendly printing inks, sustainable practices with with refilling ink cartridges, and using the ‘eco friendly’ mode/setting on printers


5. Consider Using Sustainable Light Bulbs

Several reports indicate that LED lights might not only use less energy than halogen bulbs, but also last longer


6. Consider Using Energy Efficient Heating & Cooling Systems

Heating and cooling systems can make up a significant % of energy use in an office

Making sure these systems are energy efficient in design/construction, and also making sure the settings of these systems balance performance and sustainability can help with energy efficiency too


7. Consider Using Energy Saving Features & Technology

For lighting, heating and cooling, and other fixtures and systems in the office, there might be several energy saving features and technologies available.

Examples might include:

– Sensors (motion activation and deactivation)

– Timers


Additionally, for devices and appliances like laptops and computers, energy saving features and technology might include:

– Using power saving mode

– Using smart power strips and other devices that turn off power to devices that don’t need it or aren’t being used


8. Consider Using A Purified Water Tap Instead Of A Bottled Office Water Service

Using these taps can help save on the need to use plastic bottles for a paid bottle service.


9. Encourage Employees To Bring Reusable Water Bottles

As long as they are used enough times, reusable water bottles can be more sustainable than single use bottles.

Another option is to supply employees with water glasses and cups that they can clean and reuse.


10. Consider Adding Plant Life Inside The Office

Adding low maintenance plants inside the office might have sustainability benefits as long as they don’t require much water or other inputs to keep alive.

Plants produce oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide.


11. Consider Using Sustainable Office Furniture

Sustainable office furniture can include furniture such as chairs, tables and desk, and other items.

They might have features such as being made from recycled plastic, being made from reclaimed wood, being made from recycled metal, and so on.

Wood may be more favorable than plastic in some instances for furniture, and the same goes for metal vs plastic.


12. Consider Buying In Bulk For Office Supplies, & Minimizing Packaging

There can be a lot of packaging and waste involved in buying certain office supplies in small amounts. 

Instead, for commonly used office supplies like packs of paper, pens and pencils, coffee, and other supplies, see where you can buy in bulk and minimize packaging and waste.


13. Consider Reducing The Use Of Paper Hand Towels Where Possible

Paper hand towels get used once and then become waste.

Instead, where hygienic to do so, alternatives like hand dryers in bathrooms, and tea towels in the kitchen, might be used instead.


14. Consider Properly Disposing Of/Sorting Waste In The Office

This might involve having clearly marked general waste, recycling and organic waste bins for employees to easily use.

Consider specialized bins for special waste like e-waste and batteries too. 


15. Consider Donating, Recycling Or Re-Selling Electronics & Things The Business No Longer Needs

Laptops, computers, mobiles and furniture might be examples of items businesses can try to donate, recycle or re-sell instead of just throwing out to become waste.


16. Consider Having A Bike Storage Area For Employees

Biking to work may be more sustainable than taking the car or catching public transport.

As such, having a bike storage area for employees that rid to work might encourage sustainable transport.


17. Consider The Option For Employees To Work Remote

Working remotely completely eliminates the transport footprint for employees.

So, businesses may offer this option where practical and feasible.


18. Consider Sustainable Office Cleaning Practices

Businesses may ask cleaning services who are going to clean the office about their sustainable cleaning practices, such as using sustainable cleaning products where possible.


19. Consider Making A ‘Sustainable Office Practices’ Guideline Document, & Making Employees Aware Of It

This may be an electronic document that outlines best practices for sustainability inside the office.


20. Conduct An Office Sustainability Audit Periodically

Like for example on a quarterly, half yearly, or yearly basis.

This may help identify things such as dripping taps, water leaks, and other sustainability issues that can be addressed.  


21. Consider Using A Sustainable Energy/Electricity Supplier

Offices can check if there is a ‘sustainable energy’ supplier in their area that would be suitable to use, if they are not doing so already.


22. Consider If An On-Site Renewable Energy Set Up Would Be Of Benefit

For commercial offices, it may make sense both from a sustainability and financial perspective to consider solar panels on the roof, building, or on-site somewhere.

Of course though, businesses would have to look at the net gain/loss from doing this, and also consider ongoing costs and the payback period.

It may not be feasible or practical for all businesses.


23. Consider An On-Site Rainwater Collection System

Some businesses get rainwater collection systems set up on-site

Similar to a renewable energy setup though, offices would have to consider if this makes sense for them from a sustainability and financial perspective.


24. Consider Sustainable Office Designs

Sustainable construction, and sustainable design for buildings (such as office buildings) is something we’ve discussed in a separate guide.

Admittedly, only new office builds or offices being renovated might be able to take advantage of sustainable office design and construction.

However, it can be effective in some ways where natural sunlight is utilized, insulation for the heat and coldis used, sustainable construction materials are used, and so on.




1. Various ‘Better Meets Reality’ guides


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