Practicing sustainable living habits today are very common in households around the world. In order to reduce our carbon footprint, we have been doing everything in terms of recycling paper and plastic to reducing the use of water and energy. If sustainable living has become such a common practice at home, who is to say we can't develop a green office mentality?

There are subtle ways to create a green office without scaring off your co-workers. Of course, making a major movement to go green is highly difficult to present in a busy office space. However, smaller changes and alterations that could be introduced over time may actually be the key to success.

First off, let's think about the amount of paper and plastic that is used within an office each day. If we are looking towards sustainable living, the dispersal of recycle bins throughout the office should increase the disposal of paper, such as mail, photocopies and bills, and plastics, like bottles, containers and printer cartridges.

Furthermore, energy and water are used very generously in offices. To develop a green office, water conservation can be thoroughly encouraged and energy conservation can very well be reduced. Printers, fax machines, computers, phones, televisions and lights are just a few energy consumers. Leaving electronics off or in sleep mode will save electricity. In addition, a major energy user is lighting. Every place that work needs to get done, there is lighting. Guaranteed, employees are not occupying every room of the office at every instant. Luckily, this gives us another way to enforce the green office. Restrooms, offices, break rooms, closets, basements and copy rooms are common office spaces that normally have lighting on from early in the morning until close. In order to help and conserve energy, simply installing motion sensors for lighting can make a big impact. When an employee enters a room, such as the break room, the lights immediately turn on. Once they finish their break, they can easily leave the room, which will trigger the lights to turn off. It's that easy.

Another sustainable living technique that can be quiet, yet effective, is swapping out the harmful chemicals that companies are using to clean and disinfect the office spaces and restrooms with eco-friendly products.

Finally, every employee needs to get to work somehow and the commute can be the most harmful way to affect the environment. Although a lifestyle change in terms of transportation may be dramatic, it could very well be worth it. In every city, buses and/or subway systems are available. Different routes are designed  to travel through multiple neighborhoods and common landmarks that make it easier for the citizens to move about. If a bus can transport an employee to and from work, their normal gas mileage per week can be completely reduced, which is remarkable. While driving to work in a car may be the most ideal, there are ways to better this tactic, such as hybrid vehicles or carpooling. Another option would be biking or walking to work, although weather may not permit this in some cities and states.

Sustainable living requires change, whether it's filling recycling bins, flipping the light switch or introducing new cleaning products, a green office is not hard to obtain if the staff is willing to participate.