While the health benefits of green living, ranging from the immediate respiratory benefits of lowering indoor air pollution to the increased exercise that goes along with lowered car use, have long been well documented many people do not realize that green construction and green living inside their workplace is extremely important as well. Since the average American is at work for nearly a third of their life, the important health benefits of going green at work can be severely underrated.
The average office may not have the same level of pollution as a factory or a refinery but because of paints, carpets, and upholstery that contains VOC’s (volatile organic compounds). VOC’s are gases containing a variety of chemicals that have adverse short- and long-term health effects. Also to the surprise of many, VOC’s are nearly ten times higher in concentration indoors than out. While many consciousness home-owners have been careful to be certain that they are buying products that do not contain VOC’s they are often far more plentiful in work environments. In addition to being present in paints and carpets, they are often found in office supplies like copiers and printers, correction fluids, carbonless copy paper, and permanent markers.
Furthermore, and perhaps even more dangerously, office buildings are one of the most common sites of asbestos exposure. Asbestos, which was once commonly used as insulation, is an extremely deadly carcinogenic material. Despite the health risks many older office buildings still contain asbestos insulation because the cost of asbestos abatement for large-scale high rises and skyscrapers is often astronomically high.
However, despite the risks of VOC’s and asbestos, a consciousness concern for green in the office can greatly reduce these health risks. Minimizing paper printing, copying and carbon paper usage by using Virtual Assistant Services can eliminate a large number of VOC’s . Meanwhile, environmentally friendly paint products and carpeting can offset many of the other dangers of indoor air pollution. Green soy-insulation is better for the environment, more cost effective, and safer than asbestos insulation- and pressure from large office tenants is far more likely to force landlords to change the isolated protests. But in the end the main thing to remember is that going green in the office is just as important to your health as going green at home.
Guest Post written by Taylor Dardan.