- Create a Green Team: often the best ideas for reducing energy, water and waste come out of collaborations between coworkers, and these teams can create great momentum to roll out projects across a whole office
- Figure out what your energy usage is: Only what can be measured can be managed. If information on energy usage is not available, work with your property management team to see if obtaining it is possible. Often the equipment needed to make this data available only costs a few hundred dollars, an investment which will easily pay itself back in future energy savings.
- Unplug electronics when not in use, such as when cellphones are fully charged.
- Replace bulbs in desk lamps with more efficient bulbs, especially LEDs.
- Change the power management settings on your computer so that it automatically enters a low power mode when not in use.
- Host a competition between departments to reduce energy, water or waste. Competition can often change behavior in a way that simple requests can't.
- Launch a carpool matching program.
- Change office supply purchasing: work with your office manager to specify recycled printer paper, rechargeable batteries and ceramic mugs instead of disposable cups.
- Typically, 85% of office waste is recyclable but only 10% actually makes it to the recycling bin. Decrease the size of or eliminate the deskside trash bin to encourage more recycling.
- Host an e-waste day. Most of our electronic waste ends up in landfills, even though it is dangerous to do so and the components of electronics are valuable materials that can be recycled. Ask people to bring in old electronics sitting at home and have a qualified hauler pick them up.
Sara Neff is the Vice President of Sustainability for Kilroy Realty Corporation. In that capacity, she oversees all sustainability initiatives at KRC such as the implementation of energy and water efficiency projects throughout the portfolio, the recycling and green cleaning program, all LEED certifications for the 3.5 million square foot development pipeline, all renewables projects, electric vehicle charging station installations, and the greening of building and construction standards. Since Sara joined Kilroy, 50% of the Kilroy portfolio has achieved Energy Star certification and 37% has achieved LEED certification, and her 2012 energy reduction efforts saved the CO2 equivalent of 86,000 trees. Prior to joining Kilroy, Sara worked at Google and in solar at Idealab, participated in irrigation and soil erosion work in India, and led green consulting projects in Brazil and Argentina. Sara was named a Northern California Real Estate Women of Influence Rising Star by the San Francisco Business Times in 2013, won USGBC-LA's Exceptional Volunteer Award, Greenspeak category in 2012 and awarded BOMA's Generation BOMA Professional of the Year in 2011. She holds an MBA from Columbia Business School and a BS from Stanford University, and LEED AP credentials in Building Design & Construction, Interior Design & Construction, Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance, and Neighborhood Development.
Image courtesy Mark Turnauckas