|Attaining a green office is a process that requires the co-operation of all stakeholders, both within your company and throughout your supply chain. In your company this includes your employees, directors and, depending on the size of your company, departments such as purchasing and maintenance. The designers leading the office design work must also be involved in making the office as sustainable as possible.
This integration of actors within the supply chain provides a good basis for using a number of IPP tools within a green office, mainly:
Green Procurement (or purchasing) means the buying of products and services that are the most sustainable, i.e. have the lowest environmental impacts. These products and services generate a minor global environmental impact compared to equivalent products and services, and so contribute to reduce the overall environmental impacts of the company that buys them.
You can see more about the green purchasing advantages for SMEs and examples of environmental criteria that may be taken into account in the green purchasing of office services and products. There is also legislation that you must comply with when implementing green procurement.
Applying ecodesign to the office consists of:
The application of ecodesign criteria in office design decreases maintenance costs due to a greater efficiency in energy use in the office. Also, the use of healthier materials reduces health costs for personnel.
- the application of environmental criteria in office design, e.g. taking advantage of natural light, a good distribution of rooms in the office and natural ventilation and regulation of temperature. You can see more about the criteria for Office Design.
- more efficient use of the products and materials that are the most sustainable, i.e. have the lowest environmental impacts.
LCA is a tool that provides quantitative and qualitative information that is useful to identify the most negative environmental aspects in the office. This information may be used to guide investment to reduce environmental impacts and help with the implementation of an Environmental Management System (EMS) in the company.
LCA helps to detect the problems that an EMS can have and is a source of data for the completion of documents that the EMS requires. An LCA can provide information about the life cycle of the purchased products; this is very useful for implementing and setting priorities for green purchasing.
You can see more information about the application of LCA in the use of an office and more general information in the LCA section.
EMS (Environmental Management System)
The implementation of an EMS in a company implies the commitment of the company towards sustainability and reduction of environmental impacts. In many businesses the main activity occurs in the offices (e.g. financial institutions, solicitors, consultants, etc) and therefore the greening of the office is necessary for the correct implementation of EMS.
You can see some general advantages of the implementation of an EMS in the EMS section. In an office, some specific advantages may be identified:
- reduction of management costs through reduction in resource consumption.
- social advantages thanks to a higher involvement of employees and the reduction of health problems. In the training pages you will find the legislation related to health and safety aspects of office use.