Don't Forget The Sustainable Office!

Many companies invest in sustainable supply chains, using recycled packaging materials, less power in manufacturing processes, and more environmentally friendly materials. This idea of the sustainable supply chain is used throughout the production process of many types of goods and consumables.

But, the environmental impact of the actual corporate offices can be lost in the rush to make a sustainable supply chain. The people who support the supply chain are a vital part of that supply chain. So, how can you make your corporate offices more sustainable?

Water Recycling

If you are building your office from scratch, you have the opportunity to reclaim or re-use the water that leaves your sinks and restrooms. Much of the water that is normally returned to city sewer systems, while not fit for drinking, is still potable water that has other uses. Some ways to re-capture or use water in an environmentally friendly way include:

  • Gray water reclamation – potable water can be recaptured from sinks and toilets and routed outside of the building. The water is strained through a system similar to a septic system before being routed to the outside of the building. Then, the water is used for watering grass and other plants
  • Rainwater capture – if you are not building an office from scratch, you can still capture and re-use rainwater for your landscaping needs. If the water is not intended for inside use, it does not need to undergo the strict disinfecting process that it might otherwise need for consumption

Efficient Data Centers

Many offices have a central place for storing and accessing data. These data centers can consume a lot of electricity due to the equipment and required cooling. However, if you are designing a new data center, you can utilize the more modern equipment to reduce power and cooling requirements.

Modern servers can have higher tolerances for temperature and can run in an environment that is significantly warmer than those of just ten years ago. Also, many products now come with different options for air flow allowing air to be exchanged through either the front or the back. This removes the need for "hot" and "cold" aisles in a data center and allows the same temperature to be maintained throughout the data center. The more even temperature allows for less power consumption for cooling.

Natural and More Efficient Lighting

Modern buildings can make better use of natural lighting. With energy efficient materials, buildings can have more windows to allow for natural lighting and still maintain the integrity of the building.

More efficient light bulbs also allow for much reduced electricity usage. You may also be able to install photovoltaic generators or solar collectors that can draw in their own power and further reduce energy consumption for lighting.

Sustainable Building Materials

Even in an older building, you can often use more sustainable materials for the décor. These include:

  • Cork – for flooring or wall decoration
  • Bamboo – also for flooring
  • Recycled glass – for countertops, sculptures, windows, or other places where glass can be used
  • Hemp – for carpets, drapes, or other things made out of cloth or rope
  • Reclaimed wood – for flooring, countertops, or other surfaces

Making the office sustainable is an important part of the sustainable supply chain. There are many ways to make new construction, or even existing construction, more efficient and environmentally friendly.