If you're sharing office space, you're already doing more than many to reduce your carbon footprint. Even in workspaces with a focus on minimizing waste, there's more that can be done in the name of going green. Below, are five ways users of shared offices can be even more environmentally friendly.
Use Public Transportation
You likely know that using buses and trains to get around is more environmentally friendly than driving, but do you know just how much? Subways use nearly a quarter less energy per passenger per mile than the average car, while buses use about 8.7 percent less. Since many who drive to work do so alone, it's important to note that the fuel efficiency of a commuter train with all seats filled is 15 times greater than that of the average single-passenger car.
Luckily, if you're a Metro Offices customer, going greener with public transport will be a breeze. Many of our nine locations in and around DC are within mere minutes -- by foot -- of Metro stops.
Worried about pollution? If so, you may think indoor spaces are free from it. Unfortunately, the opposite is true; indoor air pollution is usually higher than outdoor. Give your building's ventilation system a helping hand by adding several potted plants to your shared workspace. Plants act as a natural air cleaner, removing both volatile organic compounds and carbon dioxide, produced by humans with every breath.
Plants have some other benefits, too. In studies, they've been shown to help boost people's moods, productivity, and ability to focus.
Turn Off Electronics
In the always-working world, it's tempting to leave desktop computers and other desk-related electronics on and turn off sleep or standby mode. After all, you don't want to miss an email from a client or a chat message from the boss. What if your co-workers see you powering down or going dark. Won't they think it means you're lazy? Stop worrying about that and start thinking about saving instead -- energy, that is. 'Sleeping' your desktop computer can turn down the power used to just a few watts.
Want to go even greener? Get rid of desktops altogether, and go for laptops instead. They draw far less energy.
Move to the Cloud
Cloud-based office suites such as Google Apps for Business and Microsoft Office 365 make it easier than ever for businesses to manage their operations without multiple pricey software licenses. What's more, these suites and other cloud-based applications are big cost- and space-reducers, removing the need for your organization to buy, house, and maintain costly (and bulky) server equipment. According to researchers at the University of California's Berkeley Lab: "[T]he energy savings potential of cloud-based software is likely to be substantial on a national scale given the vast differences between the energy efficiencies of local and cloud data centers.”
BYOB (Bring Your Own Bowl. And cup, glass, plate, and silverware)
As a user of shared office space, you're likely already familiar with the need for an extra bit of consideration at communal spaces: the microwave, fridge, kitchen sink. So bringing and washing your own reusable plate, bowl, cutlery and beverage container won't be much of a step up from remembering to throw out your paper coffee cup and cardboard sleeve after you've finished your morning Starbucks.
"The average American office worker uses 500 disposable cups a year, or 1.4 per day [and] Americans throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour," according to Boston University's sustainability@BU project. Swap out the trash with your own reusable mug for coffee, water, tea and any other beverages you might consume during the work day, and you could have an enormous impact on the environment all by yourself.
Going green is good for the environment and great for your bottom line. As part of your move to a greener office space, compare what it costs to run your own office vs. simply letting Metro Offices do the work for you. You'll be glad you did.