Reading case studies, consulting with green experts, attending tradeshows, and looking at magazine articles are all great ways to find new, sustainable ideas for your organization. But, sometimes, the best ideas can come from the tenants and occupants within your building.
Facilities management teams across theUnited States are reaping the benefits of asking fellow employees for ideas on greening the workplace. Engaging and involving tenants and occupants in green plans is a great way to make sure they support the initiatives; it may also bring fresh ideas to the surface.
Whether you put out a suggestion box, send an e-mail survey asking for ideas, or establish a contest with prizes for the winning ideas, don’t disregard the input of tenants when it comes to finding your next big green idea.
In just six weeks, eBay reported that it raked in 611 submissions from employees across 32 offices as part of its Big Green Idea contest. Occupants’ suggestions ranged from installing waterless urinals to creating carpooling programs. Out of the 611 ideas, eBay employees selected five to implement. As a result, the company is planting more native greenery, installing weather tracking systems, expanding videoconferencing capabilities to cut down on travel, installing software to power computers down at night automatically, and replacing paper towel dispensers with high-efficiency hand dryers.
Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare recently called on its employees to share sustainable ideas for the healthcare organization. Suggestions ranged from installing bike racks and investigating green cleaning to placing more recycling receptacles around the facilities and using reusable silverware and dishes in cafeterias. Wheaton Franciscan is in the process of identifying which of these ideas they may implement.
The federal government has been opening up two-week windows of time for employees to suggest clean energy and green ideas (and then giving them the chance to vote on the ideas of others). Employees have pitched ideas ranging from no-cost solutions, like allowing some contractors/employees to work from home or placing public transit information on agency websites to promote mass transit use, to installing solar panels on government buildings roofs and collecting food scraps, paper towels, and other biodegradable items for composting.
Have you asked your tenants or occupants for their green ideas? If so, what suggestions have they made? If not, what’s holding you back?