Green Home Office Setup
As the world gradually gears towards the work-from-home setting, many more people are looking for ways to create a workspace that helps them stay productive. While there are different themes out there to follow and help you make the best of your space, you could also opt for green home office ideas.
There’s the need now more than ever to create a sustainable environment and one of the ways to do that is to be environmentally conscious. Most people would love to do this, if only they found a way to go about it, considering that we live in a world where it is almost impossible to not harm nature. However, you can still play your part in reducing the damage.
Environmental sustainability is how you interact with the environment to avoid or reduce the degradation of natural resources, which allows for long-term environmental quality. This should be seen in how you live your life generally, and the workplace is not out of it.
There are more companies today across business industries that have embraced this lifestyle. An example is WeWork that announced in 2018 that they would no longer allow their 6000 employees to expense meals with meat. Veganism is one of the ways to also sustain the environment but apart from what we eat, there are also several other ways to do that, such as setting a green home office.
A green home office is built or remodeled to sustain the environment and this could include conserving energy and water and designing the interiors with materials or products that do not harm the environment. It encourages the use of materials that are non-toxic and sustainable.
Creating an eco-friendly office or a green desk setup for your home starts from the basics. You have to be conscious about it from the moment you start creating the space. This article highlights some tips to help you create the best green for the home office.
Maximize Natural Lights
There are many benefits of using natural lights in office spaces and you can take advantage of that. Natural lights do not consume energy like artificial lights, so you may want to embrace more of that as you set up your office. Use a room with a large window to let in the sunshine, which will not only help brighten your space but will also provide you some vitamin D for your health.
This is a brilliant way to save money on electricity while reducing energy usage. There are many other benefits of natural lights, such as improved mood, reduced stress, better quality sleep at night, less drowsiness, fewer mistakes, reduced eye strain, and fewer headache complaints, among others. Considering all these benefits and more, natural lights in your workspace should not be debatable, as it will always be a win for you.
Be Energy Efficient
There might be cases where you still need artificial lights, especially if you do not have enough natural light to brighten your space or if you work into the evening when the sun has set. In this case, always opt for LED energy saving bulbs to reduce how much electricity is used. Also, consider other items you use in your office and ensure that they do not use a lot of energy. Your goal in a situation like this is to look for the most energy-efficient ones, including your electronic devices.
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Your decision when purchasing these items will be based on your line of work and the essentials you need. You might want to embrace the minimalist style here to ensure that you only focus on the things that are necessary for you, rather than pile up gadgets and other energy-consuming products.
Instill Energy-saving Habits
It is one thing to get energy-efficient items and another thing to maintain them and not make them consume too much energy. Make it a habit to turn off the lights and other equipment when they are not in use. This includes your desktop PC, laptops, printers, and other electronic devices. You can also go further to unplug these devices to stop them from consuming tiny bits of energy.
A Study from Duke Energy on Energy Savings & Efficiency talks about energy vampires, which refer to a device that continues to use energy and drain power, even when it is turned off. The study shows that this could account to up to 20% of your electricity bill. This could be your cable or satellite boxes, phone and laptop chargers, standby coffee makers, digital TV converters, video games consoles, and more. Always unplug them when not in use to save energy.
Adopt the 5 R’s (Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle)
These terms are often used but not so many people take them seriously, as there are still landfills and dump getting filled up.
Know when to say no to products that are not eco-friendly. Don’t buy the stuff you don’t need, so you don’t end up piling up non-sustainable things. Think about what you are about to buy and be sure you are on the right path before making that purchase. Refuse plastic bags and rather have your shopping bags in place.
Reduce how much non-sustainable things you use. You could get a whiteboard at your office to reduce how much paper you use in a day or make use of digital tools more often. Reduce your usage of disposable cups or a single-use plastic bottle.
Make it a habit to reuse items, rather than disposing of them immediately after the first use. For example, you can reuse that plastic bag for a longer time, instead of getting a new one each day or get a reusable water bottle for your office. Instead of disposable cups, use a mug that can be washed and used a hundred times again.
You don’t always have to discard stuff when they can be repurposed to work as something else.
Plastic bags are a great example, as they can serve different purposes rather than discarding them after first use. You don’t have to discard your furniture if it can be used elsewhere for a different purpose. Get creative with those things you think you never need and make the most of them, even if it means giving them out to someone who will appreciate them more.
Recycle or donate items to charities or recycling companies. If you have a device that you no longer need, don’t throw it away, as it only adds to the landfills. Rather, donate if it’s still in good shape or sell to companies that focus on recycling electronic items. Apply this method to other non-sustainable things too. Don’t let your first option be to throw them away.
Use Eco-friendly Furniture and Office Supplies
As you go out to purchase your essential items, remember to be eco-friendly. You don’t need to get all the types and sizes of furniture if you don’t need them. Most parts of furniture are made with non-sustainable materials, and you can minimize usage by getting only the essentials and maximize what you have. For example, any wooden furniture is from trees and it takes years for trees to grow and mature, so cutting them to make new furniture is not helping the environment.
You could choose to buy used furniture; there are several of them out there that will do great for your workspace, rather than getting brand new ones. It saves you money while you help sustain the environment. You can also look out for companies that supply only eco-based furniture and office supplies to make the process easier for you.
Use Green Paints
Using green paint for home office is not necessarily about the color but about using eco-friendly paints. There are major brands today producing eco-friendly paints for environmentally conscious people.
Check the ingredients of your paints before using them. Some of the things to avoid include harmful pigments, toxic heavy metals, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are common in oil-based and latex-based paints. VOCs mixed with air could cause headaches, dizziness, visual and respiratory impairment, and memory loss, and you want to avoid that or reduce the chances of it happening.
In a study by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it was found that the effects of VOCs are 2-5 times higher indoors than outdoors and it could skyrocket to 1000 times during a paint stripping project. Also, always dispose of old paints properly to avoid potential heavy metal contamination.
Invest in Office Plants
Green plants in the office seem to have become a trend lately but it is much more than that. It adds to the aesthetics of the workspace and could serve as a replacement to other non-sustainable decor materials. The interesting side to this is that it doesn’t only help beautify the place but also serve other purposes.
These plants will make you feel relaxed as you work and according to research conducted by NASA, they help purify the air of pollutants by 87% within 24 hours. These pollutants could be cigarette smoke, organic solvents, and more. Plants like orchids and succulents, for example, take in carbon dioxide and emit oxygen, which improves the quality of the air.
These indoor plants could also help cool the room, especially in hot environments or seasons due to the loss of water during transpiration.
Other benefits include reduced stress and anxiety, improved productivity and cognition levels, improved sleep, and more.
Conserve Human Energy
Apart from implementing different strategies to make your office space eco-friendly, you should look within yourself and see how you can conserve energy.
By taking care of yourself and your health and working hard, you tend to conserve your energy, which reflects in your work and helps you stay productive. When you are less fatigued, you’ll find it easy to make the right decisions and be eco-friendly all day and year long.
In a corporate setting, this would mean creating an environment where no employee is stressed out, such that performing the simplest task becomes a chore. In a home office setting, this is about you and you get to make the rules.
Staying healthy and energized should be of top priority and a combination of this with a green office setup would confirm a completely safe and non-toxic environment. As you strive to save and take care of the environment, don’t forget to put yourself first and take care of you, as it has a huge impact in your overall workflow.
Creating an eco-friendly environment should not always be a chore. There are easier ways to go about it to ensure you’re not stressing yourself over anything. Creating a sustainable environment starts with some of the basic things we do in our day to day activities.
For example, you could choose to put your phone on airplane mode while working to avoid consuming too much energy while it’s not in use. The added benefit of this is that it saves you from unnecessary distractions, which would help you stay focused and get the work done.
You could also have shopping bags with you every time to go out to shop, which would help minimize the usage of plastic bags.
Have a water bottle with you to reduce the number of plastic bottles used per time and learn to ditch disposable cups. Go paperless, limit packaged foods, avoid buying things that are not important, and more.
If you look closely at your daily activities, you will realize that there’s a whole lot you can do to contribute to creating a sustainable environment.
If only more people would realize how a single act of being eco-friendly can go a long way, we will all be on the path to making the world a better place.
Creating a green home office setup could be your way of making an impact on the environment. The beauty in all of these is that you will be creating one of the most aesthetically pleasing work environments. This could fire up your creative thinking process and help you to stay productive at work.