Greening Your Office


Lutherans Restoring Creation Congregation Sustainability Guide

Why green the office?

·         For the sake of God’s good creation

·         To develop habits for sustainable living

·         To serve as a model for the congregation and its members

·         To save money for other ministries

Efficiency, Conservation, and Protection.

·         Efficiency refers to appliances and mechanisms put in place to save energy and be Earth-friendly.

·         Conservation refers to human actions to save energy and be Earth-friendly.

·         Protection refers to the actions we take that protect the earth from degrading products and processes.

Energy (Heat/air conditioning).

·         Insulate well the outside walls and the area above the office.

·         Isolate office heat/ air conditioning from other parts of the church.

·         Regulate temperature for energy efficient lows and highs in winter and summer.

·         Use automatic thermostat to raise and lower temperatures when office is not in use.

·         Control temperature and on/off switch manually to maximize efficiency when possible.

·         Adjust temperatures for holidays and vacation days when office is closed.

·         Regulate temperature by opening and closing windows.

·         Shade windows with blinds or curtains to control temperature. Trees outside windows.

·         Re-arrange furniture for greatest comfort and best efficiency.

·         Avoid vending machines. Put cold beverages in church refrigerator for storage or purchase (honor system).

Energy (Lighting)

·         Use natural lighting where available. Place furniture in advantageous positions.

·         Retrofit fluorescent lighting to best efficiency.

·         Use compact fluorescent light bulbs in desk lamps and overheads.

·         Detach overhead fluorescents or unscrew CFLs if less lighting is adequate.

Energy (electronics):

·         Purchase Energy Star computers, printers, scanners, copiers and other electronic devices.

·         Turn off all devices outside office hours: all computers and printers. Turn off from the base so that the power cords(phantom electricity) are off.

·         Turn all of them off when not in use during the day, devices with occasional use, such as scanners, copiers, shredders, and perhaps printers. Use a smart strip to turn them off automatically.

·         Set all computers to stand-by mode or sleeper mode when not in use during the day.

·         Use flat screen monitor or LCD monitor for lower energy usage.

·         Use solar-powered calculators. Unplug radios, CD players, and phone chargers when not in use.


·         Purchase 100% recycled paper with highest post-consumer waste percentage. Or purchase paper made from tree farms. Includes stationary, computer paper, ruled tablets, envelopes, and note paper.

·         Purchase paper that avoids toxic chemicals in the making and coloring.

·         Avoid any use of bright-colored paper. This will not recycle with other paper. If color is needed, use pastels.

·         Where feasible, always use both sides of paper. Make note paper/pads from used paper.

·         Avoid paper use: Make electronic any church newsletters and other church communications, except for those members who have no access to the web.

·         Avoid paper use: Minimize use of paper for worship services. Use electronic projection.  Or consider a standard service for the season to be reused each Sunday with worship variables (such as hymns and the names of worship leaders) made available separately or announced.

·         Avoid paper use: preserve records and statements on CDs.

·         Get rid of junk mail: Get on registry and write postcards to companies that send unwanted mail.

·         Use Earth-friendly packing material. Save packaging for reuse.

Food and drink:

·         Turn off coffee makers and microwave ovens when not in use.

·         Use fair trade coffee and tea. Organic milk.

·         Avoid bottled water. Keep water cold in refrigerator and use reusable water bottle.

·         Avoid Styrofoam or paper cups and plastic utensils. Use ceramic or have people bring their own.

·         Clean ceramic cups and utensils with green cleaning detergents. Minimize use of water.

·         Provide healthy, Earth-friendly snacks. Local, organic, low-sugar where possible.

·         Use cloth napkins, cleaning cloths, and hand towels.

Reduce, reuse, recycle:

·         Make an inventory of all that comes into the office. See if it can be reduced.

·         Make an inventory of all that goes out of the office. Make sure it is reused or safely disposed.

·         Get used furniture from used-furniture office centers.

·         Provide recycling in the church for aluminum cans, tin cans, plastic bottles and other containers, newspaper, magazines, phone books, and office paper. Make use of these in the office.

·         Reuse packaging, office envelopes, etc.

·         Recycle paper 100%. Provide separate bin for recycling paper in office.

·         Recycle all fluorescent and CFL light bulbs.

·         Recycle printer cartridges, electronics, batteries, cell phones, furniture.

Protect the environment:

·         Place non-toxic carpet and flooring.

·         Use non-toxic paint.

·         Purchase office furniture with certified wood and non-toxic fabric.

·         Avoid aerosols, air fresheners, bleach, certain glues or inks, certain correction fluid. Use green cleaning supplies.

·         Use plants to that purify air. Water plants with grey water.

·         Get a battery charger and reusable batteries.

·         Compost food scraps, coffee grounds, and tea bags.

·         Reward employees for coming to work by walking, biking, or using public transportation.

Educational actions

·         Get the staff on board: office employees, maintenance staff, volunteers.

·         Put greening actions in newsletters.

·         Post on bulletin board a list of actions taken to green the office.

·         Post sign at the office. “This is a green office.”