Businesses are becoming more aware that the buildings that they work in every day may not be as efficient or environmentally-friendly as they thought. As a result, they are beginning to build spaces that use materials based on LEED or other green certification metrics. While this is an alternative many technology corporations in the Bay Area have considered, it is not cost-effective for a majority of companies.

For companies that are challenged by the cost of transitioning to green certified materials, there are other adjustments that can achieve the same effect. These include re-purposing a vacant building or reconfiguring the office space to have more sustainable design amenities. Whether small changes like double-sided printing or widespread innovation like changing the heating ventilation and air conditioning system, the goal is to keep churn rate low.

Churn rate is the number of business occupants who relocate to another facility within a 12-month period. The International Facility Management Association found that 44 percent of businesses will move within a given year, which costs $1,340 per employee.

Instead of wasting time packing up work-related materials and unloading them at another location, the organization explained that reconfiguring the office’s files and telecommunication system, or placing quality office furniture in different sections of the space costs just $166 per employee.

To make the most of these adjustments, use furnishings built with recycled or re-purposed materials. Pre-owned furniture can typically be installed much more quickly than manufactured furniture since you don’t have to wait for the product to be made. Ultimately, using pre-owned furniture will be less disruptive to overall worker productivity.

Some might think the expense of implementing green office solutions is exorbitantly high, but that is not always the case. In addition, the return on investment occurs much sooner than conventional structural changes, according to reports from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Recently, the Scarborough Hospital in Toronto, Canada underwent a two-year renovation, one that included replacing the health care center’s HVAC system and retrofitting medical equipment with safer and less energy-consuming materials. Over time, the hospital believes that these adjustments will improve the patient experience and “add value to the taxpayer” who visits the facility, Scarborough Hospital CEO Robert Biron said in its news release.

Regardless of the industry, it is important to have an office that provides comfort to the employee and reduces operational costs. One way of achieving a greener office without making large changes is through the purchase of remanufactured business furniture. Many of these pieces are lightly used or restored, maximizing the life of the item at a fraction of the cost of today’s cheaply made furnishings.