Creating An Eco-Friendly Office

This post is contributed by Jamie Sward (author bio provided).  I've always wanted to have a [home studio]( / home office of my own someday, and I've always been interested to learn about anything eco-friendly, so the topics covered in this article suit my blog really well. I hope you find the information useful as I do.

In this day and age, every little bit that we can do to help the environment makes a big difference.  Since the average person spends most of his or her time at work, maintaining an eco-friendly office lifestyle is a great first step.

Green Office Furniture

When it comes to office furniture, comfort is obviously key.  Many office furniture manufacturers are producing lines that are both comfortable and eco-friendly.  Herman Miller, for instance, a company that’s been around for over 100 years, has had its eye on the environment for quite some time now.  Herman Miller’s ever popular Aeron Chair not only adapts naturally to fit every body type, but it is also 94% recyclable.  The brand new Embody chair is 95% recyclable, made from 42% recycled content and contains no PVCs.

Other manufacturers like Knoll and Steelcase are focused on producing eco-friendly desks, cabinets, space dividers and modular office furniture.  Furniture made from sustainably harvested hardwoods and recycled and bio-based non-toxic materials is becoming more popular and more readily available.  Given that many government agencies, universities and corporations are turning their attention to the environment, manufacturers have seen an increased demand for eco-friendly office solutions.

Energy Efficient Lighting

With countries like the UK and Australia phasing out incandescent light bulbs, we’re starting to see a move toward using energy-efficient lighting in homes and offices all over the world.  British retailers are to phase out traditional incandescent bulbs by 2011, in the hopes that the UK will cut carbon dioxide emissions by five million tonnes.  By 2012, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Taiwan, Canada, Argentina and the greater EU will ban the production and sale of incandescent bulbs.

What alternatives are there to incandescent bulbs?  The two major alternatives are compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) and Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs).  According to Energy Star, a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy, a CFL will save about $30 USD over its lifetime and pay for itself in about 6 months.  It uses about 75% less energy and lasts about 10 times longer than an incandescent bulb.

LEDs are also gaining popularity.  Taiwan is a global leader in the production of LEDs.  While LED technology is for the most part limited to street lights and electronic signage, the technology is quickly evolving.  Cree, a company based in North Carolina recently converted to a 100% LED lighting system.  Cree, a leader in LED solid-state lighting components, converted the lighting in their parking lots, hallways, lobbies, conference rooms and more!  According to a press release, these new LED lights use 48% less energy than they incandescent, fluorescent and high pressure sodium lights that they used before.

While the widespread adoption of LED lights in the office place is a ways off, this is a promising development nonetheless.  In addition to lighting, offices are instituting other environmentally-friendly measures including inter-office paper, plastic, aluminum and ink cartridge recycling programs.  If you feel like your company isn’t on the right path, why not make your thoughts known to those in charge?  Every little bit helps - from an eco-friendly desk lamp to purchasing recycled paper products.  Take a stance and help the environment even from the comfort of your 9 to 5 job.

About The Author

As part of the marketing department at All, CSN Chairs and several other CSN Stores, Jamie Sward has grown to appreciate all facets of modern design.  All Modern is part of CSN Stores, an online retailer specializing in modern and contemporary furniture, home accessories and lighting from some of the biggest names in modern furniture.  Brands include Herman Miller, Knoll, Kartell, Alessi, iittala and more.

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