Tuesday 28 May 2019

7 Ways to Make Your Home Office More Eco-Friendly

There are many benefits to working at home, but one that you might not have considered is having an eco-friendly office. While you don’t have much say over the state of a traditional office environment, at home you have complete control over the layout and design, your office supplies and even the temperature and lighting of the room.

And while this means you’re footing the bill for your work environment now, by taking just a few simple steps, you can make your home office an environmentally friendly haven that reduces the impact your work has on the environment – and your wallet.

Scale back temperature control
In a traditional office, it’s hard to come up with a single energy-saving action that’s more effective than moving the thermostat a degree or two. At home, though, it’s entirely up to you – and while you might be tempted to fiddle with the thermostat constantly, you could be hurting the environment more than necessary.

This is especially true if you’re the only one around while working from home. Moving the temperature a degree or two to make your office more comfortable causes the system to heat or cool your entire house – whether you’re using the other rooms or not. To combat this, find ways to regulate the temperature more precisely. Use a fan or open windows in the summer, and close vents to rooms you aren’t using when you need to use the thermostat.

You should also raise or lower the thermostat slightly past your comfort level and put on a blanket or a comfy sweater – after all, you’re in charge of the dress code at home. Working from home is a sustainable move, but you’ll still have to put some effort in.

Use efficient office products
Going out and replacing all your office supplies immediately isn’t a sustainable move, as it takes energy to make any new goods, green or not. But when you do find yourself in need of an upgrade, buy efficient, sustainable office products from a reliable source.

This can include more efficient electronics for office work and responsibly sourced recycled paper for printing needs. Nowadays, eco-friendly office products are usually priced comparably to their more wasteful counterparts. And as for electronics and other long-lasting items, these can save you money over the long term by using less energy.

See the light
While relocating an existing home office might be tricky, you should always consider how much natural lighting a room receives when choosing a space in your home for work. In the Southern Hemisphere, choosing a north-facing room will ensure that your office receives abundant natural light, especially if the room has large windows.

If windows are lacking in your office, a skylight can be an excellent solution for providing more light during the day without having to switch on electric fixtures. And you’ve heard it a million times, but as for the lights you do need, make sure they’re fitted with energy-efficient bulbs like LEDs. These last longer and save money while providing plenty of light for you to work in.

Organise sustainably with reclaimed wood
A typically useful piece of office organisation advice is to add in wall-mounted storage – primarily shelving – to keep your clutter corralled. But while this is a good idea that will do your home office many favours, buying brand-new shelves isn’t the most environmentally responsible move you can make.

Installing shelves made of recycled (or preferably reclaimed) wood reduces environmental effects from manufacturing while also adding a more rustic look and character to your office. In fact, you can use reclaimed wood for many things around your office if you use your imagination. If you’re handy, for instance, you can make bookshelves or even desks out of discarded wood.

Shop for second-hand furniture
Outfitting a brand-new home office can often get expensive, but a good money- and earth-saving move is to give an old piece of furniture new life. If you’ve ever bought anything second-hand, you know by now that “used” doesn’t necessarily equal “worn out and broken.”

Often, companies will go through redesigns, or people will just find that they don’t need particular pieces. Those perfectly good pieces of furniture – from desks to office chairs to cabinets – then become available to you at a much lower cost. Getting your desk, tables, shelves, and other furniture from second-hand sources will both save you a heap of money and eliminate the impact of buying a newly manufactured piece of furniture.

Get green (plants)
It’s hard to get more eco-friendly than nature, and adding some to your office can make things greener in more ways than one. The clearest and possibly most important impact is that plants can help freshen up the stale air that accumulates indoors, especially during winter months. While this improves the smell of your office, it also comes with the very real benefit of boosting your overall health and reducing illnesses, thus upping your happiness and productivity. Add to that the fact that plants are just plain nice to look at!

Paint the room green
Repainting is an easy way to liven up your home office before you move in – or even to reinvigorate the space if you’ve been working from home for a while.

When you do this, though, take care to cover your walls with green paint – not in terms of colour, but in eco-friendliness. There are several motivations for not using traditional paints on the walls in your office – and elsewhere in your home.

This includes the fumes they release (and that you’ll breathe in while repainting your walls) and the chemicals that might harm the environment if the leftovers aren’t disposed of properly. Buying eco-paints is an easy step to take. It lets you beautify your home office without sacrificing the environment!

Till next time... why not make your home office more eco-friendly?

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