Eco-Friendly Workplaces

General Information

Many EcoWomen in DC find themselves working at large headquarter offices for resource management agencies or conservation organizations.  That means that even if you’re working at the Sierra Club, chances are your office wastes electricity or even might not recycle.  From getting fair trade coffee in the cafeteria to ordering nontoxic electronics, these ideas show how even one person can promote an eco-friendly corporate culture.

  • Lighting – Companies can replace incandescent with CFLS and LEDs and utilize natural lighting throughout the day
  • Printing – Using post-consumer recycled paper and discouraging paper waste can save millions of dollars in paper per year
  • Cafeteria – Companies should use recyclable/compostable food containers and provide discounts for employees who bring in their own eating utensils
  • Commuting and Travel – Employers can incentivize carpooling rewards programs, provide ample bike parking, and allow teleworking
  • Water – Companies switching to native plant landscaping, automatic toilets, and low-flow faucets cut water usage by as much as 50%!
  • Strength of Community Action – Employees can start initiatives and demand educational training seminars and team sustainability rewards programs that minimize waste and encourage awareness

Green Building

Ever wonder exactly what LEED certification actually means?  Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design is a process that has gained international attention by which a third party can evaluate how well a development project meets a suite of sustainability measures ranging from light bulbs to building materials.  Learn more about the program and its rating system from the U.S. Green Building Council and the Natural Resource Defense Council, conveniently located here in D.C.!

Academic Resources

Studying to become an architect isn’t what it used to be.  In addition to all of the chemistry, physics, and math, now students get to choose from interesting courses offering specialties in sustainability, landscaping, creative solutions, and green technology.  The rise in LEED-certified architects gives new meaning to the idea of urban revitalization and corporate design.

Local and Nonprofit Initiatives

Not only does it feel good to work for a company that values sustainable practices, but it has been proven that this type of working environment inspires efficiency, innovation, and high employee satisfaction and performance.   A 2009 article highlights the importance of this idea for high productivity and low waste.

Women and Sustainable Workplace Design

With an eye for design and a concern for the environment, women can play an important role in uniting creative principles and eco-friendly practices.  At the February EcoHour panel discussion, Kristin Andersen, Katrina Managan, and Seema Wadhwa spoke about their expertise in LEED certifications, sustainable architecture, strategic marketing, and making environmentally-friendly business decisions.

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