Recycling and “doing your bit” for the environment at home is now part of everyday life for millions. But what about when you get to the office? Do you maintain your green ethos? For many, being sustainable is not a priority at work when there are so many other things to consider.

So, what are some simple ways you can be more mindful to the planet at work? Whether you are a business owner or an employee wanting to make a difference on the job, there are numerous avenues to take.

Five top tips for going greener in the workplace

As a business owner or employee, you have plenty to think about on the day-to-day without worrying about if you are doing “enough” for the planet. Yet, switching your consciousness to being a little more mindful about how you consume products and energy in the workplace could be a smart business move.

Here are a handful of ways to reduce the amount you consume at work.

  1. Go paperless. With today’s technology, it has never been easier to reduce the amount done on paper. Reducing paper consumption goes hand in hand with monitoring the amount that gets printed to save trees and your company’s money.
  2. Reuse. For many, a novelty of going to work is buying a coffee in the morning from the local café. However, takeaway cups are not yet recyclable, so it is essential to bring a reusable cup with you to work.
  3. Consider replacing energy-heavy PCs with laptops. If PCs are the only viable option, employees should be encouraged to turn off their computers over the weekend.
  4. Propose investing in movement sensors, so lights only come on when they are needed.
  5. Encourage swapping to a more efficient — perhaps renewable — energy source in the office.

Does your business need solar?

The handy Small Business Owner’s Guide offers an overview of why solar is perfect for organisations in South Africa. However, there are a wealth of other reasons to get your workplace to make the switch. Even supplementing a proportion of electricity used with renewable energy goes an incredibly long way!

As a business, the benefits you could see from installing solar include:

  • Reduced overheads. If you rely on a diesel generator due to grid outages or an unstable connection to the grid, solar acts as a replacement for costly and polluting generators.
  • Better reputation. Showing your dedication to the future of the planet by investing in renewable energy sets you aside from your competitors.
  • Increased productivity. Being able to stay operational for longer and get more work done consistently without frustrating power outages will enhance morale and productivity among your employees and potentially lead to boosted revenue.
  • Reduced carbon emissions. While this is not every business’ primary motivation for choosing solar, knowing you are contributing to a greener future is never undesirable.

Is solar suitable for your business?

Ensuring your business’ site has ample space and is not overly shaded is crucial before investing in solar.

Firstly, it’s vital to check when your business is using the most electricity. If your peak consumption is in the afternoon on weekdays, you are more likely to profit from installing solar. Companies relying on diesel generators for large parts of the day will also see the greatest benefits.

You should also be completely aware of how much your business usually spends on electricity. Generally, any organisation spending upwards of R100,000 on electricity a month should consider changing to renewable energy.

Once you have covered these areas, you need a survey to assess the roof you plan to use. The structural stability, size and location of your roof is paramount, as the surface needs to support dozens of panels as well as being out of the shade. If your roof is not suitable for mounting solar panels, perhaps consider if there is land nearby to house a ground-mounted solar PV solution.

Keen to swap to solar? Find a reputable, knowledgeable installer near you today.