Green Office Guide

Green Office Guide

GreenLine Paper Company was founded in 1992 out of concern for the environment and remains passionate about improving it today. encourages “green” practices for offices like conservation, recycling, and using environmentally responsible green office supplies. Everyday choices for an office can make a huge difference in the future of global health, as well as economic and social benefits. This energy guide suggests a number of energy saving opportunities that can make a difference. Choices of lighting, office equipment, paper products, heating and cooling systems, water conservation, and cars and parking can all reduce global warming pollution, and reduce costs.

Lighting uses about 29% of the total energy use in an office. By changing fluorescent lighting from T-12 to T-8 or T-5 size lamps, using dimmable ballasts, and changing to LED or compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) can save thousands of energy dollars in an office building. Changing exit signs and exterior lighting to LED or CFLs will also cut energy usage and costs. Occupancy sensors can also be used to automatically turn lights off when nobody is in a room.

Considering computers, printers, copiers, and faxes, office equipment is an enormous energy expenditure. If workstations would be shut down at night, and automatically set to go into “sleep” mode during daytime idle periods, it could save millions of tons of CO2 emissions! Additionally, look for Energy Star labels when replacing copiers, faxes, and other office equipment. Energy Star copiers use less energy with automatic turn off functions, and some are capable of making double sided copies to use less paper.  LED & LCD screens save half (or more) compared to plasma or old CRT monitors.

Offices literally use tons and tons of paper, and there are effortless ways to use much less; for example relying on electronic copies instead of printing, single spacing what is printed, and simply using both sides of a piece of paper. Purchasing recycled paper is an obvious standard, but look for labels that say the paper is made from at least 30% “Post Consumer Waste” (100% PCW is available and preferable at, and is processed without chlorine. Using recycled paper saves significant energy, water, air emissions, and landfill space. Colored paper, magazines, newsprint, and boxes can be recycled in addition to standard white paper. A business should always encourage and support the recycling of all eligible products like glass, aluminum and plastics as well as paper.

There are many options for green office supplies which are excellent choices for an environmentally responsible office. Products should be chosen that are recycled, tree-free, biodegradable, non-toxic, sustainable, or reusable. Paper products, pens and pencils, planners, filing products, ink cartridges, and more, all should be sourced sustainably. Responsible choices can be made when purchasing other products in an office including cups and food containers, trash bags, and cleaning supplies…available at

There are so many things an office can do to reduce their HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) usage, which can be up to 40% of energy use in a business. Choose the most efficient HVAC products when purchasing a system, but they will not likely be the least expensive; however, the reduced utility bills will quickly make up for it. For optimal system performance, these systems need to be properly maintained and operated. Operationally, automatic thermostats can be installed to turn the systems on and off when needed, eliminating wasteful use.

There are creative options for high efficiency cooling and heating including outside air economizers. These use the cool outside air to flush the building with fresh air. This allows less air conditioning use during the day, and these systems pay for themselves in 3-5 years. Another method to avoid the intense heat of the sun is solar shading opportunities. They include reflective roof coatings, which use white roof coverage that reflects the sun’s heat back into the atmosphere. Window films and shading are also used to shield a building from the sun’s heat. Another inventive option is to have trees and shrubs planted on the south and west side of a building to provide natural shade. Eco-roofs actually use vegetation as the roof surface. This does not allow as much heat absorption through the roof, and it also has drainage advantages.

Water conservation and water heating methods are important elements of having a green office. For hot water heaters, set the temperature at 120 degrees, and consider a smaller or even a tankless unit. Solar pre-heating units are now available, which can save 50% off of hot water bills, and also allows for state tax credits. As far as plumbing, install low flush toilets and low flow faucets, and always fix leaks. Thousands of gallons of water can be wasted from leaks that are simple to repair.

A significant saving of gasoline, and a reduction of greenhouse emissions can result from employers who support the reduction of drive time for employees. Employers can subsidize transit, and encourage carpooling with incentives. Employers can support bicycle commuting with secure bike parking and access to locker rooms and showers. Offering flexible work schedules including telecommuting and compressed work weeks reduces commute time, and increases worker productivity. If a company has car fleets, choosing hybrid cars, and using recycled motor oil and antifreeze are environmentally friendly options.

In order to implement some of the above, or research alternative products, some businesses hire a conservation manager. They can track energy use, encourage employee participation in green causes, and facilitate the use of green office supplies. Implementing any of these suggestions can be an important step toward improving the health of our world, and GreenLine Paper supports these causes as well as supplying socially responsible office products.


Grace Enderlein is a freelance writer and editor. “GreenLine Paper’s Green Office Guide” encourages the use of green office supplies and responsible energy choices.

In this green office guide, GreenLine Paper Company encourages responsible energy use and conscientious choices for office equipment and green office supplies. The recommendations are proven to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save landfill space, and save natural resources while decreasing costs for a business.