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7 small steps to a more sustainable office

Sustainability is not just a buzzword or trend, but a responsibility that we all have to take on - and that also applies to our daily working environment.

The way we design and operate our offices can have a significant impact on the environment, our employees and our company's ecological footprint. From reducing energy consumption to the efficient use of resources and creating healthy workplaces - the benefits of sustainable offices are huge. Not only can they protect the climate, they can also reduce costs and make the working environment more pleasant.

It often doesn't take much to make everyday working life in offices more sustainable. In many cases, even small changes are enough to have a big impact on the ecological footprint in the long term. In this article, we present seven simple steps towards more sustainability in the office that you can implement immediately.

1. Using natural light

Natural light in the office.

Take a look out of the office window and notice how the daylight illuminates the room. Large windows and an open room design are not only visually appealing, but also create a friendlier working environment. The natural light increases the well-being of employees and at the same time reduces energy consumption as less artificial lighting is required. The use of daylight therefore not only does the environment a favor, but also improves the working atmosphere for your employees. Although many companies are only tenants in their buildings and cannot simply change the building, modern planning works with daylight control systems and modern lighting systems, among other things.

2. Installing energy-efficient lighting

In many offices, the hallways, toilets and the office kitchen are often unnecessarily lit, as the lights are often left on unintentionally. But there are simple solutions to avoid this energy loss. Motion detectors offer an effective way to save energy in the office. They switch the light off automatically when no one is in the room. Even more advanced are presence detectors, which can also be used at individual workstations. This means that the light is only activated when it is really needed.

It's also worth considering automated lighting systems. In many offices, one light switch is used to turn on all the lights at the same time, regardless of whether they are actually all needed. This unnecessarily increases excessive power consumption. Smaller automations, such as the individual control of light sources, can help to optimize energy consumption.

Another important measure is the use of LED light sources in the office. LEDs are not only extremely efficient, but also have a long lifespan. In addition, LEDs offer the possibility of individually adjusting the light color and intensity and can therefore contribute to a pleasant and energy-efficient office design. Online calculators offer the opportunity to plan the potential savings when switching to LEDs.

3. Avoiding screen savers and switching off devices

Screensavers, which can be seen on many office computers, may look nice, but they use energy unnecessarily. The screen remains switched on while the animations are running, and the graphics card and RAM continue to work. Instead of using screensavers, the energy-saving default settings on the PC should be used.

When the computer is not in active use, the screen should be switched to sleep mode. When leaving the workplace, the devices should then be switched off completely, as energy is still consumed even in standby mode. A power bar that can be turned off completely with a switch helps to avoid these unnecessary power guzzlers.

4. Regulating office heating more sensibly

Intelligent heating thermostats help saving energy.

Especially in times when energy is expensive and gas is scarce, it is worth regulating the heating in the office as efficiently as possible. Lowering the room temperature by just one degree can lead to considerable energy savings without employees having to freeze.

Modern thermostats that automatically adjust the room temperature, for example based on the weather conditions or the presence of people in the room, are a sensible investment in this regard. For example, the Buuky desk booking tool can be used to record which workstations are actually being used and where heating is required on any given day. With the help of digital heating thermostats, you can also ensure that the heating is turned down overnight, at weekends and on public holidays. In open-plan offices in particular, experience shows that employees do not always remember to switch off all the heating.

Our Buuky desk booking tool can also help with automating heating control: By installing intelligent heating thermostats and linking them to Buuky, viadee IT-consulting for example, was able to save more than 50% percent on heating energy in their offices in Muenster and Cologne last winter.

5. Saving paper and using sustainable materials

The adoption of digital processes in the office can significantly reduce paper consumption. If you want to print out a document, you should carefully consider beforehand whether printing is really necessary. Not only can you save paper and printer energy with digital solutions, but you also need less space to store files. This is sustainable and saves money. If paper is still essential, you should use recycled paper and look out for labels like "The Blue Angel", "UWS paper" or "Ökopa plus". If you do need paper that is not available in the recycled version, you should look out for the FSC seal. Find further information about this topic in the WWF Guide to buying paper.

Many other office supplies, from printer cartridges to kitchen equipment, are also available in recycled form. You should avoid single-use products such as plastic tableware and disposable packaging. By using reusable and recycled alternatives, you can reduce your waste and support sustainability in the office.

6. Separating waste correctly

Separating waste properly is another important step towards a sustainable office environment. Therefore, providing different waste garbage cans and making sure that your existing waste separation system is used consistently can make a big difference. Using good labeling and displaying posters with waste separation rules near the waste bins can help to promote correct waste separation. In this way, you and the whole team can help to conserve valuable resources.

7. Hybrid working and reducing business travel

Hybrid work and working from home means high flexibility.

For many meetings, it is often not necessary for participants to be present in person. In times of video conferencing and digital means of communication, many tasks can be completed efficiently without having to travel long distances to the workplace or business partners. Being able to choose the workplace flexibly helps to reduce employees' CO2 emissions from car journeys and air travel, while also saving time and money.

The option of hybrid work also means less time spent commuting, less traffic on the roads and less air pollution. This not only benefits the health and well-being of employees. The travel time saved can also improve the work-life balance for commuters and make them more productive at work. We have also summarized the far-reaching benefits of hybrid work in our recent blog post.


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