As I drove through my neighborhood, I saw a lot of for sale signs displayed in front lawns. It brought back memories about how we made our house attractive for future owners and how we conducted our search for our future residence. There were many things to consider: energy savings, aesthetics, location and taxes. It is somewhat similar to looking for a tenant space: location, building, rent and all terms that goes into your lease.

But how about taking into consideration your commitment to the environment through energy efficient practices, using sustainable and renewable materials and, selecting a location accessible to public transportation?

We have heard and seen LEED certified buildings across the nation. At one point it was the new thing, now it seems like being green is a new standard in architecture and interior design. Being LEED certified certainly helps with your organizational marketability and recognizing your commitment to the environment.

But, your commitment starts with a personal decision to make your organization believe in being environmentally responsible, with or without the certification.

If you are shopping for spaces to move in to or are considering a renovation for your existing space, here are some ideas you can implement to make your office more green. I've taken several key points from the LEED certification; take a look and see if this is something you can do for your organization.

1. To reduce the pollution from automobile use, select buildings or lease spaces that are within walking distance from a public transportation: 1/2 mile from the train/rail station and 1/4 mile from bus stop. Encourage riding your bike to work by providing bike storage within 200 yards of the building and showers and changing facilities.

2. Conserve water by installing high efficiency fixtures or those that meet or exceed the Energy Star criteria.

3. Conserve energy consumption by installing occupancy sensors for general lighting. Provide task lighting to promote productivity in the workplace.

4. Encourage recycling by designating a dedicated area for collecting recyclables like paper, aluminum and glass. If you are renovating your office, divert all recyclable construction waste to appropriate recycling centers.

5. Salvage and reuse existing furniture like those metal filing systems, task chairs, case goods and pendant lights. Purchase furniture and materials that are manufactured within a 500 mile radius to reduce the environmental impact from transporting goods.

6. Improve indoor air quality by using low to no VOCs paints, coatings and adhesives and no urea-formaldehyde resins that could be harmful to the occupants. If using carpet, consider looking at carpet systems that meet or exceed the green label or green label plus. It is a standard for maintaining good indoor air quality among carpet systems.

8. Consider using salvaged materials as part of the interior space design. Use materials with recycled content to reduce the environmental impact of processing virgin materials. Take a look at rapidly renewable materials like bamboo and cork to incorporate into your space.

9. If you have to install wood cabinets, use FSC certified wood based products. This ensures that the wood are harvested from responsibly managed forest to prevent deforestation and illegal logging.

10. Connect the outdoors to the indoors by taking advantage of views and daylight and, distributing it throughout the space.

Observing all or some of these key points contribute to cultivating a more environmentally conscious culture in the workplace. Your company's commitment to the environment is an advantage in attracting and retaining talent. Greening your office does not have to be a big endeavor, but it starts somewhere.

How do you keep your office green?

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