Trying to turn a property of any size into one that is environmentally friendly can seem like a vast and never ending undertaking. Don’t let that discourage you. Starting with the office you work in, there are a multitude of simple steps that can be taken to make it greener. Below we cover a few simple things that you might have neglected… things you can do to clean up and green up your office space.
One primary but often overlooked step to take is to check and clean on a regular basis the vents for the heating and air conditioning. Taking off the grate covering and cleaning it by either washing it off or vacuuming it will keep dust from accumulating. While you have the grate off, the very ends of the duct work can be cleaned with a shop vac. You won’t be able to clean all of the duct work, but cleaning the ends will also remove dirt and dust that have gathered. While you’re at it, check both the grate and the visible part of the duct work for any mold or mildew that may have formed. Not only will this help keep your office clean, it will help keep it healthy.
Another thing to do with the duct work is to check it for leaks. You can have your maintenance staff check it or bring out an air conditioning and heating company. Again, the entire length of the duct work will probably be impossible to check, but you can check the ends and eliminate any leaks there, making your system more energy efficient.
There are a variety of plants that can be used to help remove pollutants from the air inside offices. Plants such as spider plants, Peace Lilies and rubber plants are just some of the many that will help clean the air in your office. The best way to choose a plant is to find out their water and especially light needs and then determine which one fits the lighting conditions in your office best.
Painting in the office can be a mess, not only from the paint but also from the smell of the paint, which can often linger for days, if not weeks. Paints can also release into the surrounding atmosphere toxic chemicals, such as formaldehyde. There are now paints that are low voc (volatile organic compounds), no voc or even voc absorbing. These will help keep harmful chemicals out of the air in your office and provide a cleaner and healthier workspace.
It would seem like a very obvious idea to say that one final step to keeping your office green and clean is to actually clean the office. It is, but before you start scrubbing away at anything, there are some things to keep in mind. To start with, cleaners themselves can be as damaging to the air in your office as anything else. To prevent that, look for green cleaners. You will recognize these when you see on their labels such words as non-toxic, biodegradable, phosphate free, contains no dyes, chlorine or hypochlorite–and cleaners scented with natural fragrances.
Many cleaners will claim they are “green” or made from “all natural products.” A careful reading of the label is required to determine if they have the qualities listed above. Although the ones that are truly green, such as ones that are biodegradable, may be more expensive, they will be worth it in the long run when making your office truly environmentally friendly.
As I stated at the beginning, making an entire property green can seem an overwhelming job, but starting off small with the office you work in is a great way to become acquainted with some basic green ideas and how to put them into practice.
For more information, and a great article on simple cleaners, visit thedailygreen.com