In order for businesses to be energy efficient, it is essential to implement green office solutions and ensure that workers are mindful of them. A recent report from Julia Day and David Gunderson that appeared in Building and Environment found that office occupants need proper training to make the most of environmental solutions. When employees are properly trained in office sustainability best practices, they will be more able to prevent potentially costly mistakes.
For example, Day found one building, among the 50 she looked at as part of her study, that was equipped with a special indicator system with lights installed to prompt employees to open and close windows. Ideally, this practice would expose the office to natural air and save energy, but the employees didn’t understand what the signals meant. Even though the building was LEED-certified, that didn’t guarantee best practices were taking place.
Another company Day looked at had a series of controls installed for users to open and close blinds that were hard to reach. In a piece for Washington State University News, Day explains that proper training is the missing link for correcting inefficient offices. The newest technology could be installed but will be useless without making sure employees know how to operate it.
“With stricter energy codes, the expectations are that buildings will be more energy efficient and sustainable,” she said. “But we have to get out of the mindset where we are not actively engaged in our environments. That shift takes a lot of education, and there is a huge gap right now.”
Correcting the “gap” will depend on both choosing the best quality green furniture pieces and seeking out practices that employees can easily follow. Offices should take inventory of the current environmental solutions they are using and make sure their workforce receives the necessary training.