Sunday, April 14, 2024

The Green Office: What is it?


The Green office is a practical step or measures to solve the impact of daily office activities to the environment. Digital innovation among businesses has made a provision for more remote work, less commuting time and lower energy costs. 

The COVID-19 pandemic created an opportunity for companies to embrace remote workforce. Despite more and more companies shifting towards remote work, offices still remain as the main workplaces globally. 

Human workforce tends to spend at least 8 working hours a day at the physical business environments such as offices and buildings. This makes the physical business environments important players in the sustainability field thus acting as solid contributors to the rapidly changing environment and climate conditions. 

Globally, there’s push for development of green building policies for sustainable development as a result of changes in environment. The main motive of green building is to bring multiple benefits such as environmental, economic and social to the organization.

This is making designers, innovators, engineers and experts to bring solutions through their design, technology and innovation aiming to make buildings which is energy efficient and provides other sustainability benefits. 

To maintain green building some key elements that should be taken into consideration will include lighting, cleaning, decoration, maintenance, acoustic, office Lay out, thermal comfort and indoor air quality. 

Business executives needs to understand the concept of shaping an office into a green office. The primary objectives of the green office are to promote continuous improvements towards reducing the environmental impacts of the office work. It also aims to reduce carbon (iv) oxide emissions to the environment. 

The intention of businesses and starts-up to embracing the green office concept is: It act as a meaningful tool to minimize expenses through reduced consumption of natural resources. This helps to act as a practical environment management tool thus acting as an ecological footprint for offices. 

It helps to initiate creation of awareness on the effect of climate change and counter measures which are necessary in mitigating it with activities or practices such as energy saving and use of renewable energy sources. 

It aims to promote the use of sustainable environmental practices in office by training and educating the employees to improve their environmental awareness. This helps to adopt environmentally friendly culture to make more sustainably driven decision. 

The green office is used as a tool for internal and external environmental communication. Through the green office program: workplaces are able to reduce their burden on the environment by reducing energy consumption levels, setting up recycling programs. It also enhances employee’s engagement, thus improving the job satisfaction and employee’s wellbeing. 

The program can be used as a tool to help organization deepen their sense of purpose to engage and retain a new generation of employees. Green office in the workplaces can be promoted through behavioral changes and efficient management practices in order to combat climate change through energy efficiency and the renewables, reduce natural resource use and promote sustainable lifestyles through enhanced employee awareness. 

Green office is suited to offices both large and small, in private companies and in public sector. The program’s target group is office facilities that wish to improve their environmental management and which needs to embrace concept of sustainability. 

Green Office Principles 

The basic principles of green office initiatives are: 

  • To bring all round improvements in the working atmosphere and environment of the concerned organization 
  • To Reduce the negative impact office caused on the environment such as using office resources efficiently 
  • To motivate and inspire employees to practice environmentally good habits 

Main Features of Green Office 

  • Green Office and reduction in energy consumption: Through activities such as switching off unnecessary light will lead to less energy consumption. 
  • Green Office and reduction in Transportation: Traveling requirements in businesses is inevitable. Sustainable businesses that have green office embraces an alternative solution such as technological innovation in communication like video conferencing, Skype and others forms of internet communication. This saves time and reduces carbon emissions thereby improving environmental situation. 
  • Green office and reduction in paper consumption: Mass scale production of paper needs destruction of forests. This leads to massive destruction of endangered species, water catchment points and resources. Reduction in its use saves the impact on the ecology. 
  • Green office and reduction in Water consumption: Water footprint of human consumption is increasing beyond the sustainable levels globally. Measures should be taken to save water through practice of green office at workplace. 
  • Green Office and reducing Waste Generation: There’s need to reduce generation of waste products in the office in order to save natural resources to minimize effect of environmental pollution. 

Steps for Being A Green Office 

To be a green office, it is important for an organization to follow these steps which will help to enhance their performance for becoming a certified green office as: 

  • Assemble a Green Office team 
  • Formulate the aims and goals of the office 
  •  Complete the assessment form and the requirements for green offices 
  •  Formulate an environmental and social program specific to your needs.
  • Take decision and action based on the extent of the required greening of the office 
  • Consider the environmental and social aspects of procurement and matching the same to the needs 
  • Communicate, instruct and train the teams on green offices
  • Seek certification of the office and consider the use of green office logo 
Dr. Edward Mungai
Dr. Edward Mungai
The writer, Dr. Edward Mungai, is a global sustainability expert. He is the Lead Consultant and Partner at Impact Africa Consulting Ltd (IACL), a leading sustainability and strategy advisory in Africa. He is also the Chief Editor at Africa Sustainability Matters. He can be contacted via

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