10 Tips to Create a Quality Environment
Create quality building environments that promote occupants’ health and productivity
- 01 Promote sustainability and offer quality environment tips. Create a Sustainability Advocate team of employees to monitor, patrol, and educate other employees on environmentally friendly behaviors. Celebrate Earth Day and World Water Day to raise awareness and promote involvement.
- 02 Avoid “sick building syndrome” by improving air quality. Ensure an adequate supply of fresh air and monitor CO2 levels to keep them within a healthy range. High CO2 levels can cause fatigue, headaches, difficulty concentrating and lower productivity. According to the United States Green Building Council, air pollution concentrations indoors can be two to five times higher than the air we breathe outside.
- 03 Evaluate and control employee exposure to airborne contaminants. Consider banning smoking on your campus – including outdoors. Install permanent “knock-off” grates at all entrances to control unwanted particles from entering on shoes.
- 04 Promote recycling. Distribute recycling containers around your buildings or campus to encourage separation of waste and recyclable items. Did you know recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to watch TV for three hours? Think beyond cans, glass, and paper. Consider composting food waste, including coffee grounds, from your cafeteria to improve the environment, and reduce the cost of the waste stream.
- 05 Make cleaning and maintenance greener. Reduce the environmental impact of in-building operations such as cleaning, pest management, and maintenance. Use more environmentally friendly cleaning products and organic, synthetic filters for equipment. For pest management, use non-toxic or minimally toxic methods only in targeted locations and for targeted species.
- 06 Create a more comfortable building by helping individuals control their own environments. Install desktop personal environment systems for comfort and control at the fingertips. Doing so gives occupants the flexibility to adjust temperature, lighting, airflow, and acoustic characteristics as often as necessary to maintain personal comfort levels. So instead of a source of frustration, the workspace environment becomes a tool for productivity.
- 07 Preserve green spaces. Secure green space in your facility design to protect our natural resources, especially in urban areas. Include courtyards, ponds, walking paths, and decks that allow occupants to enjoy and interact with the outdoors. Design workspaces that provide unobstructed views of windows to help bring the outdoor environment inside.
- 08 Perform an office lighting energy audit. Most buildings over-light their spaces. Make a list of how many lights you use and what they are used for, and then develop an efficiency plan. Provide quality, uniform, indirect lighting that is easy on the eyes to reduce strain. This effort will lead to creating a more productive, comfortable work environment.
- 09 Reduce volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the office environment by implementing a green printing program. Centralize printers/copiers, use double-sided printing, and promote secure-print options to significantly reduce the number of copies printed each day. It all adds up to dramatically lower printing costs and a healthier environment.
- 10 Add amenities that enhance employee comfort, health, and productivity. Huddle areas and quiet rooms can provide an inviting alternative to meeting rooms. Acoustical spray on ceilings and sound masking through white noise can minimize distractions in open office environments. Consider adding a fitness center to promote exercise and general well-being.