A greener workplace can mean a lighter ecological footprint, as well as a healthier and more productive place to work. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and, now, Repair and Rethink, sustainability can come in the form of telecommuting to small adjustments within your medical practice. Bottom line – simple steps you and your practice can take today can save money and decrease its impact on the planet.
1. Redesign the Work Space
Creating an eco-friendly medical office space in which you work has limitless possibilities. Start by investing in good furniture, good lighting, and good air. Furniture can be manufactured from recycled materials as well as recyclable. Incandescent bulbs can be replaced with compact fluorescent or LED desk lamps that use minuscule amounts of energy.
Open space to natural daylight as a free source of lighting for the office, where applicable. This can also improve productivity and satisfaction among both your staff and visiting patients. Workspace air quality is also key. Good ventilation and low VOC paints and materials will create high air quality and keep everyone happy, as well as healthy – a key benefit in a medical setting.
Of course, certain industry requirements may mean such changes can’t be utilized in every section of your practice, but working them in where possible is a worthy investment.
The greenest paper is no paper at all. Keep things digital and dematerialize whenever possible. The more you do electronically and/or online, the less you need paper. Keep files on computers instead of in file cabinets. Review and analyze data onscreen rather than printing them out. Send emails instead of paper letters and documents.
3. Switch to Eco-Purchasing & Practices
Purchase environmentally friendly paper with high post-consumer content and chlorine-free bleach. Remember recycled paper uses a great deal of energy, water and chemical resources in its processing. Practice double-sided printing, and reuse boxes and shredded waste paper as packing material.
4. Use Green Materials
Some paper use can’t be avoided, so opt for recycled paper and envelopes. Materials such as pens and pencils can also be made of recycled materials, and refillable pens and markers are recommended over disposable ones. Use biodegradable soaps and recycled paper towels or cloths in the bathroom and kitchen. Switch to biodegradable cleaners for the custodial staff, and buy in bulk so that shipping and packaging waste are reduced. Reuse the shipping boxes, and recycle where possible.
5. Reduce Energy Use
Use energy-efficient equipment such as those certified by the Energy Star program. Simple ways to do reduce energy include:
- Turn down the thermostat at night and on weekends if you’re practice closes then.
- Set your central air a few degrees higher, and your heater a few degrees lower.
- Use energy-efficient light bulbs or fluorescent lights.
- Turn off computers and other electronic equipment when not in use.
- Ensure the windows and exterior doors are sealed.
- Use motion sensors or timed lighting for unoccupied rooms.
6. Unplug & Turn Off
Turn off everything you possibly can before you leave each day. Encourage this behavior among your staff and lead by example. Unplug or turn off electronics in the office when you close up for the day.
7. Encourage Eco-Transportation
If possible, try to locate your medical property close to public transit. Provide bicycle storage and change rooms, and encourage teleconferencing and e-conferencing. These adjustments can encourage your peers to minimize gas waste by carpooling, biking, or walking.
8. Lunch Time
Brighten up the dining space by rethinking lunch time. Encourage everyone to bring in reusable containers; join them in placing large orders (more efficient than many separate ones); and provide reusable plates, utensils, and napkins for convenience.
9. Remove Waste Wisely
Recycling is the best way to remove waste wisely. Set up recycling bins next to disposable bins in convenient spots for employees and patients. Keep each bin clearly labeled.
Finding an Eco-Friendly Medical Office
Maintaining an eco-friendly medical office can be made easier by deciding on a rental property that has already been built with eco-friendliness in mind. To explore the possible options throughout Los Angeles and its surrounds, contact us today.