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Green Office Week in VK office

Green Office Week in VK office

18 – 22 Nov 2013

Sustainability Initiatives conducted an environmental audit of the VK office in Pune to understand how efficiently or inefficiently an office consumes its resources and identify potential areas for improvement. The power consumption, water consumption, waste generation and carbon footprint by way of travel and other activities of the office employees was calculated in this audit. Parameters like energy performance index, thermal comfort, and optimum illumination were determined with use of instruments such as clampmeter, thermo-hygrometer and lux meter.

The result of the audit showed that the energy consumption of the office was higher than the benchmark levels and was an area that needed immediate attention. Also, the waste management and water usage had immense scope for improvement by better planning and management.

SI further also helped to organise a Green Office Week in the office from 18 to 22 Nov 2013. During this week, the employees were trained for behavioral changes such as turning off/unplugging unwanted appliances, efficient use of air conditioners, reducing waste, recycling of waste paper, etc. and were encouraged to maintain these as habits to save energy, water and manage the resources in a more sustainable manner. Record books were maintained to help quantify the savings at the end of the week. Each day of this Green Office week focused on one area for training the employees: Energy, Water, Transport, Waste and on the last day a feedback was taken on the week’s activities.

As part of the GOW, some energy saving measures were implemented like replacing the old refrigerator with a new 3 star energy rated, avoiding the use of lift, hibernating computers during lunch and meeting hours, avoiding unnecessary use of fans and lights. Employees were asked to collect the unwanted sheets of paper from misprints & cluttered desks which were used to make notepads. There was also a competition to sketch a design for the cover page of these recycled notepads. On Wednesday the focus was on transport when employees were encouraged to travel by public transport/car pool/ cycle or walk to office.

The GOW saw a good participation from the employees and at the end of the week a feedback survey was collected to evaluate the feasibility of implementing the suggestions on a long term basis. This feedback survey showed that 46% of the employees felt that they were more productive during this week than regular working hours. They also faced less traffic during their commute to the office and hence were less stressed. Almost 95% of the employees did not use the lift during this week and some continue to do so. At the end of the week 14 kg of paper unsuitable for office use was sent to a handmade paper factory for recycling and 4 kg of paper was reused to make notepads for office use. Over  25 litres of water was collected daily from leftover water and bottle rinsing; this gave around 125 litres/week water which was used for mopping the floor. Since the office timing was moved to an hour earlier, the fans and lights were needed an hour later than usual due to the cooler and calmer hours of the morning. This helped save up to 800 units of electricity. The car-pool day on Wednesday resulted in savings of 6% of total fuel use per day. Our observations showed that 35% less electricity was used during the Green Office Week by implementation of energy conservation measures. Collectively, through this week long event the company could save up to 3500 INR per week and upto 1.68 lakhs INR per year without any monetary investment.

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