With increased awareness about the ways we affect our planet, environmental issues are finally receiving the attention they deserve. Besides people taking individual action, many companies are implementing eco-friendly policies to reduce their environmental impact.
If you own or manage a coworking hub, there are many reasons to make it more sustainable. Besides being mindful of your business’s impact on the planet, you’ll also attract members and investors by making environmental awareness a company goal.
Since they mainly target the millennial demographic, coworking offices are often hotspots for green thought. Also, by sharing the utilities of one office space, coworking hubs are greener by default. With this said, to be even more sustainable, here are 9 tips to make your coworking hub more eco-friendly:
1. Pick the Right Building
If you are only in the planning stages or looking to move your coworking hub into a new space, search for a building that follows green building standards, including LEED Certified properties. These types of buildings are built from construction materials that have been recycled or produced with minimal environmental impact.
When renovating, standard flooring and separating walls could be replaced with variants made from recycled or renewable materials such as bamboo, cork, and rubber.
2. Ensure Power and Water Efficiency
While they might be expensive upfront, energy efficient products will save money long-term, besides making your coworking space more eco-friendly. Look into putting water flow aerators on sinks and installing low-flush toilets to reduce water usage. Furthermore, think about investing in electronics with better energy efficiency ratings, which will reduce your electricity bill.
Encourage members to put their electronics in power saving mode when they aren’t using them and to shut down and unplug when they leave – and, unless your coworking space is open through the night, make the rounds at closing time to make sure nothing is left powered on.
3. Think Efficiently in Terms of Lighting
Unnecessary lighting is a major power drain. By ensuring spaces aren’t pointlessly lit when no one is using them, motion-activated lights improve power efficiency. Also, if possible, replace regular light bulbs with LEDs, which use much less power and have a considerably longer lifetime.
An ideal solution would be to rely as much as possible on natural light, which additionally has proven health benefits over artificial lighting. If you can’t install windows which let more sunlight through, at least try to implement a desk layout which profits the most from existing windows.
4. Look into Solar Power
Renewable power sources are the future, and solar power is among the most promising. Your coworking hub can partake in the switch from fossil fuels to sunlight through solar panels. If your business is eligible, there are government programs which could subsidize them. You could also ask your energy provider about a green energy plan, which would ensure all your electricity comes from sustainable sources.
5. Promote Recycling
Everyone knows about recycling by now, so what you can do is try to incentivize it. First, make sure that there are recycling bins close to every workstation, as well as in kitchens and lounges. When electronics break down or need replacing, you should also provide proper recycling avenues, as they contain reusable materials such as glass and rare metals.
6. Ditch Paper and Disposables, Adopt Reusables
Although offices are becoming digitized, a lot of paper still goes to waste through unnecessary printing. Remind your customers about the advantages of cloud services and digital signatures to ensure your coworking hub doesn’t eat through too many trees.
Objects such as paper towels and disposable plates also cause a lot of material waste. You can replace single-use items with reusable variants – cloth towels which you can wash at eco-friendly laundromats, or regular plates and silverware available to everyone. You can even invest in mugs displaying your logo and distribute them to new members, which would help you market your hub and give a sense of belonging while also preventing plastic waste.
7. Make Your Office Greener – Literally
Even if your building might not have a green roof, you can still make your coworking space feel more like the outdoors by keeping plants within the premises. They’re not just a visual reminder of your green ideals but will also improve air quality by filtering harmful toxins. To go a step further, you can look towards installing a green wall that’s both practical and eye-catching.
8. Encourage Greener Commuting
Reliance on personal cars for commutes contributes to air pollution. To address this among your members, incentivize alternative means of transportation. Install bike racks to encourage cycling to work, and if possible, place them inside for greater security. Think about offering customers discounts for public transit tickets, and look into installing charging stations for electric cars and scooters on the premises.
You can also get creative when encouraging sustainable commutes through the events you offer your coworking community: you could challenge members to walk or cycle to work for a month and grant the winners small prizes, or encourage members that live in the same area to coordinate and carpool.
9. Raise Awareness and Build a Network
Speaking of events, there are countless ways of informing your customers and staff about environmental issues and how they can live and work greener. You could host seminars with environmental experts as speakers, or workshops with green projects as a theme. Even smaller-scale action, such as holding a presentation to inform members on how to recycle properly, can make a difference.
Additionally, coworking spaces are bound to be places where innovative minds meet. All you have to do is build relationships with members and companies that have eco-friendly ideals. Even local governments often involve themselves in environmentalism and can help your efforts if you cooperate. What is essential is that you surround yourself with like-minded people and start sharing ideas.
Why Making Your Coworking Space More Sustainable Matters
Implementing measures to make your coworking hub greener can yield many positive results, even if done one step at a time. Many green technologies are profitable long-term, and your members will appreciate your innovative thinking. Remember, however, that beyond making your business more profitable and popular, what truly matters is acting for the well-being of our planet.