The environment has never been higher on the political agenda for the public sector and it is now more important than ever to have a ‘green’ office.

Making your workplace more environmentally efficient helps conserve resources, lowers carbon emissions, saves energy and keeps bills down. UK recycling is estimated to save more than 18 million tonnes of C02 a year — the equivalent of taking five million cars off the road.

An environmentally friendly workplace also helps businesses achieve their corporate and social responsibility objectives.

A recent business poll revealed 92% of office workers believe it is important for businesses to be environmentally responsible but only 51% of companies have a green policy in place.

According to Simon Walsh, co-founder of ShP Limited, one of Europe’s largest electronics recyclers, we spend a third of our lives at work and businesses are responsible for 40% of the UK’s carbon emission. Few businesses realise that 70% of office waste is recyclable yet only 8% is actually recycled.

Most workplaces have an abundance of old IT equipment, mobile phones, Blackberry’s and laptops. However, many of these unused items lie gathering dust in an IT cupboard or store room. Recycling IT equipment not only creates more space in your office, it helps minimise resources as these items are reconditioned and sold to emerging markets.

When it comes to purchasing new equipment consider replacing desktop computers with laptops as these are more energy efficient.

To reduce your offices’ environmental impact you need to think: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. What can you do to reduce waste in the office? Look at what you could be re-using and what you should be recycling. Almost half of the UK’s office workers have admitted to regularly throwing paper in the normal rubbish bin rather than the recycling bin.

Aside from paper recycling, switching lights off and encouraging employees to car share, it is important that business owners look at the bigger picture and consider how efficient their business premises are.

Marc Blomfield managing director of The National EPC Company, the UK’s leading provider of commercial EPC certificates believes energy efficiency is fast becoming a priority for businesses across the UK.

According to reports published by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, energy bills for businesses are set to rise considerably in the next decade.

He believes no business owner will want to fork out more money than they have to just because they don’t have an efficient building.

This is leading to companies paying closer attention to the energy performance of their offices making them more sustainable, and battling against energy price hikes.

Mr Blomfield’s top three recommendations for making your office building more energy efficient, are:

- Installing and maintaining efficient heating and air conditioning systems and taking care to use them only when required
- Installing effective insulation
- Taking advantage of natural light in the workplace and where lighting is required, ensuring low energy light bulbs are used

The Carbon Trust offers support for businesses including interest free loans for companies planning an energy saving project.

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