GreenDependent Egyesület

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Home Green and sustainable office practice
Green and sustainable office practice

The mission of GreenDependent Association is to “research, develop and disseminate sustainable lifestyles and consumption patterns”, therefore we also place special emphasis on „greening” our private and office lives. We aim at putting sustainable and climate-friendly principles into our everyday practice.

Our office is a good example of how theory can be turned into practice. In the office we collect experience in several fields such as observing the positive impact of regularly maintaining our equipment, optimising the operation of electrical devices, using environmentally-friendly cleaning supplies, drinking fair trade and organic coffee and tea. Furthermore, we are always excited to test the new acquisitions of our energy efficient and environmentally-friendly product exhibition.

We also aim at giving an example of operating a green office to those offices involved in our projects and intending to become „greener”, i.e. offices participating in the Save@Work project.

We set up our office in downtown Gödöllő, a small town in Hungary of 35 thousand inhabitants. It is located in an apartment with two rooms on the second floor of a brick-based apartment building. Four full-time and one part-time employees work in the office, and occasionally we share the office space and facilitites with some other people, contracted or volunteer collegaues or friends.

Everyday work is facilitated with the following tools and equipment: 1 multifunctional printer, super-speed internet, landline and mobile phones, 1 PC, 5 laptops, projector, fan, radio, fridge, electric kettle and a toaster.

  1. Operation of the green office
  2. Observing the principles of equal opportunities
  3. Sustainable transport
  4. Green and Sustainable events and programmes

1. Operation of the green office

a) Office equipment and appliances

  • New machines, products and appliances are only purchased when we absolutely need them.
  • The office is equipped with environmentally friendly, and if available, eco-labelled phones, laptops and monitors. The eco-label certificate guarantees that these products comply with environmental regulations and specification.
  • We check the energy label when we select a new product, and we aim at purchasing those with at least category ”A".
  • We use energy saving setting on machines. While being away for a longer period or after office hours, electric devices are disconnected.

Az új hűtőnk   

  • Most of the stationery and stamps we buy have been produced using environmentally friendly technology. For instance, our glue is free of chemical solvents, our pens are refillable and are made from recycled materials, our calculator is powered with water, and even our puncher is made from biodegradable and recycled plastic.

     

  • We do not buy disposable products, unless this is the only alternative available on the market.
  • We only use eco-labelled printing paper and envelopes, also ensuring that the raw material originates from sustainable forestry

       

  • We use furniture, which we got hold of at the garage sale regularly organised locally by the REGINA Foundation or from friends and relatives. The profit from the garage sale is used for charity by the REGINA Foundation. Furniture from friends and relatives are also reused in our office.
  • Most of the plants in the office are proved to clean air from different pollutants (formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, benzene, ammonia, etc.) generated when office machines and appliances are in use, or they are evaporated from glue-down floor, varnished furniture and painted walls.

b) Energy consumption: heating, lighting, and equipment

  • We combine fossil fuel heating (natural gas) with renewable sources. During winter, we pre-heat the office with wood burnt in the tile stove. After the heating season, we use the stove as a ’plant stand’.
  • We only heat those rooms that are in use.
  • During the night and weekends, we reduce the temperature in the office.
  • We never overheat the office, but dress warmly and use special foot-warmers.
  • We improve the insulation of the office room by using window-cushions, thick curtains and carpets.
  • We ensure humidity through direct evaporation and using green plants; and thus we feel comfortable at a lower temperature.
  • By the aid of a simple temperature and humidity sensor we monitor the temperature and humidity of the office, and keep them within the optimal range.

  • If we need a new light bulb, we will always buy an energy efficient one.
  • We employ task lighting, and save energy by reducing ambient light use that requires more energy.
  • We only use the lights that we absolutely need.
  • Electronic equipment and products consume a significant share of their energy need when in stand-by mode. To reduce this consumption, we always disconnect them after office hours using switch sockets and intelligent plugs, so-called standby killers.

   

  • All office equipment and household appliances are used in energy efficient mode; their settings are optimised by the aid of an energy meter.
  • All office equipment and other electronic products are maintained regularly in order to ensure the highest level of performance and consequently to decrease the rate of deterioration of energy efficiency.
  • We keep track of all utility consumption, and we calculate the carbon footprint of our office, also taking into account office-related travels.
  • Instead of using air-conditioning, the office is aerated frequently, shaded by a curtain, or a fan is used for extremely hot days.

c) Cleaning

  • We use environmentally friendly cleaning products (e.g. vinegar, citric acid, Frosh, Alverde, Ecover, etc. products), because these are neither hazardous to health, nor pollute our waters and the wildlife when they are released into nature.
  • Essential oils are used to refresh and disinfect indoor air.
  • We use water sparingly (e.g. we always collect dirty dishes, and do not wash them in running water).
  • By using a one-basin sink combined with a rinsing bowl, we can avoid the use of running water.
  • We use eco-friendly dishwashing liquid and dishwashing sponge made from recycled material.
  • Water after dish washing is reused for cleaning the floor or flushing the toilet.
  • In our office even the paper tissue and toilet paper are FSC or PEFC, as well as Blue Angel certified.

 

d) Food and drink

  • We give priority to local, seasonal and Hungarian food products, thus reducing the greenhouse gas emissions related to transporting these products. Besides, this also supports the local economy.
  • We purchase fair-trade and organic tea and coffee, because we want our money to directly reach local producers of distant countries in the scope of fair market conditions.
  • We add organic and fair-trade sugar, milk and lemon juice to our drinks, and offer these to our visitors and guests. We buy local and organic cookies and cakes, to avoid artificial additives as well as to support the local economy.
  • We aim at reducing our meat consumption, some of our colleagues are vegetarians.
  • At our events we always offer vegetarian and vegan food options, often all the food served is vegetarian.

e) Reducing and managing our waste

  • We collect waste selectively, following the rules of the local collection system.
  • We collect organic waste separately, which then enriches the compost of the Vadovics family (our colleagues).
  • We collect papers that have been used on one side only, and when possible use them internally or for note taking.
  • When we order food, we prefer those restaurants that allow the use of dinner-cans. Mostly, we bring lunch on foot or by bike.
  • We keep track of the amount of waste generated in the office.

 

 

f) Producing reports and other publications

  • We apply paper-saving principles when designing, editing and formatting. 
  • We prepare publications in printing offices that have environmental certifications (EMAS, ISO 14001).
  • We print on environmentally friendly paper using eco-friendly ink.

g) We are setting up a professional library, where we will make available foreign (English language) and Hungarian publications related to environmental protection and sustainability.

h) We produce a monthly electronic newsletter (in Hungarian) , which aims at providing inspiration, theoretical and practical help, information, good practice examples for “small-footprint” living, that is for developing a sustainable lifestyle that is environmentally, socially and economically responsible. All previous issues are available online at the Small-Footprint (in HU: Kislábnyom) website (in Hungarian).

 

 

i) We organise a regular, monthly Climate Club for enthusiastic local inhabitants, who are interested in climate-friendly lifestyle and motivating local change.

 

j) We undertake and work on projects and programmes that are in line with the principles of sustainable development and lifestyle. Examples include the Small Footprint campaigns where we aim at increasing the energy and climate change awareness of households through real-life examples. In the scope of the Changing Behaviour (FP7) project, a research was conducted  to investigate tools and methods to change energy use habits of households.

   

k) Since we consider important to get feedback on the efficiency of green office practices, we started to keep track of the carbon footprint of our office and activities. In the scope of this we do meter reading on a monthly basis (including gas, water and electricity), we lay down the amount of paper purchased by types, the amount of waste generated (selective, mixed and compost), and transportation data related to the office (i.e. commuting to work, attending events, international projects related travel). The results for 2016 will be published in early 2017.

 

2. Observing the principles of equal opportunities

a) We prohibit discrimination and we follow the principles of equal opportunities regarding salaries and allowances, as well as access to training programmes.

b) We aim at enforcing the Partnership Principle.

c) We provide benefits for employees with families in line with social solidarity principles.

d) We constantly improve working conditions, establishing the opportunity for alternative working hours and teleworking according to fair and flexible treatment.  

e) We promote and help voluntary work.

f) We employ volunteers and temporary employees for occasional tasks and during the implementation of our events.

g) We look for collaboration opportunities and we maintain existing partnerships with local organisations

  • We have been members of the Association of Climate-Friendly Municipalities for 6 years, and we have cooperated with them about reducing their carbon emission on several occasions.
  • In 2012, we participated in the evaluation committee of “Clean Garden – Neat House” programme of the local government in Gödöllő, and we carried out an "obstacle race" in the scope of the “Earth Day” celebrations in partnership with several local organisations (bicycle club, local group of the Large Family Network, Local Food Committee of Gödöllő). 
  • In 2013 we participated in the national „Cycle to Work” campaign.
  • We are members of CEEweb for Biodiversity international network, and cooperate with them especially in the initiative of Resource Cap Coalition.
  • Our experts are long-time members of the SCORAI Europe (Sustainable Consumption Research and Action Initiative) initiative and network
  • In summer 2016 we participated in the preparation and implementation of the fifth International Degrowth Conference.

 

3. Sustainable transport

a) Getting to work

  • We prefer travelling by bicycle or by public transport. In the summer, we almost exclusively use the bike. We support employees in using these transport means.
  • We only start the car if the trip cannot be solved in another way (a lot of package, too tardy public transport, long distance with kids, extremely bad weather).
  • We provide an opportunity for teleworking for employees with small children, living very far, or employed with part-time contracts.

b) Organisation of trips abroad

  • If possible, we avoid travels, because the most we can do for our planet is with prevention.
  • We are moving ahead in regards of conference-calls. Occasionally, when personal attendance is not highly necessary, we join meetings via Skype, webex or gotomeeting.
  • When planning our trips, we look for the least energy intensive and most climate-friendly means. (http://www.ecopassenger.org/)
  • If it is possible, we prefer train to air-plane, given that this is the most environmentally friendly travel method. We are even ready to pay more!
  • We aim at choosing eco-hotels (e.g. Green Key), which are careful to take into account sustainability principles
  • Some examples of places we have been to:

4. Organisation of events and programmes for sustainability

The scope of activities of GreenDependent Association cover many events, including trainings, project opening and closing events as well as workshops and conferences. We have earned experience how to organise a green event with as low carbon-footprint as possible. In the followings you can find these aspects.

a) We calculate the carbon-footprint of our events and we offset emissions by planting indigenous fruit trees. Carbon-footprint includes the numper of participants, the length of event, the mode and distance of trips, food and drinks, servicing, brochures, printed materials, local energy use (lighting, air-conditioning, laptops, etc.), energy and paper used during the event.

Here you can find some activities for offsetting carbon-footprint:

  • Members of the Gödöllő Climate Club  planted trees to offset the emissions of club events.
  • We organised fundraising at the CONVERGE conference to offset carbon footprint of the event. From the money donated GreenDependent purchased 45 indigenous fruit trees and  organized their planting.
  • Climate coordinators of our Small Footprint projects were given native fruit trees in the framework of the programme and were asked to organise their planting with participants to offset carbon emission of their events.
  • In the course of EnergyNeighbourhoods programme, running already for six years, 624 fruit trees have been distributed to offset emissions of the project events.

Fát ültetnek a Gödöllői klíma-klub tagjai a klubalkalmak kibocsátásának semlegesítésére.  

b) We select the venue for our events in a way that they are easy to approach by public transport and bicycle.

c) The supply of food and drinks is always provided by local, organic, fair trade and environmentally friendly products, and we require the same if we involve a local supplier or restaurant.

d) We offer climate-friendly eating opportunities for the participants, that is we always offer vegetarian menu, and we encourage our local and foreign partners to do so as well.

e) We limit the amount of printed materials that are distributed. Those that are offered are printed on environmentally friendly paper and on both sides, and if possible in smaller font size.

f) We encourage participants of our events to get familiar with eco-labels used also in Hungary, e.g. fair trade, organic products, or FSC/PEFC certified products. To promote this we made a small exhibition including eco-labelled environmentally friendly, energy efficient or water-saving household appliances and office devices.

g) If possible we select venues for our events that have been built/renovated and are operated in an environmentally friendly way (e.g. using natural light, energy efficient lighting, furniture from natural materials, energy efficient equipment, controllable heating system and setting of temperature according to the season).

h) We help to arrange car-pooling, thus reducing the total emissions of the event.

i) We always try to introduce green organisations, initiatives to the participants, in order to increase the knowledge and awareness about climate-friendly and small-footprint lifestyle.

j) We reuse plastic name-tag holders, and/or we prepare the name-tags ourselves that we then fix using wooden clips

k) If our event is organised by somebody else (for example by energy masters), we expect them to follow the above principles, and if needed we provide assistance.

l) We have prepared a green event organisation checklist, which is annexed in our Hungarian language publication “From Climate Friendly Households to Climate Friendly Communities”, made available for everyone. (An earlier version of the "green event checklist" is available in English HERE.)

 

We are happy to assist others in their efforts to establish a greener, more efficient, more sustainable office. Please ask for a quote specific for your personal and office needs

 

We provided help for the following organisations to become greener:


 



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Zöld iskolakezdés kicsiknek és nagyoknak / Ökológiai Túllövés Napja

2015-ben kevesebb, mint nyolc hónap alatt felélte az emberiség a természet nyújtotta javak és szolgáltatások teljes idei mennyiségét. Úgy élünk, mintha 1,62 Föld bolygó állna a rendelkezésünkre. Egy átlagos magyar ökológiai lábnyoma is túllépi már a rendelkezésre álló javakat. Erről és sok hasznos témáról olvashat a Kislábnyom Hírlevél 76. számában: