An article by Nirwono Joga, The Jakarta Post.

Various parties are seeking new strategies and fresh breakthroughs in efforts to mitigate global warming. Among these is developing green offices.

Green office buildings are designed to optimally catch sunshine as the main source of lighting on each floor. Glass walls are installed around the buildings, making it unnecessary to turn on electric lights during the day, and you can save on electricity bills.

To enable cool air to freely enter through the windows, green, spacious parks (60 percent of the total area) should be built around the building, filtering the air.

The efforts in making offices green should be supported by building users’ environmental awareness and attitude. They are the spearhead of the campaign to preserve the environment by doing small things that may appear trivial but have big impacts, like managing waste with the 3R — reduce, reuse, recycle — principles.

The growing number of green office buildings seems to be in accordance with the growing understanding about the importance of the green architecture of a building. Efforts to make green buildings should be stepped up, even if a building was not initially designed to meet the green building criteria.

A building owner can optimize rooms that are feasible to be re-greened, for example by planting climbing plants along the fence, walls and tree trunks, and providing separate containers for non-organic (paper, plastic, bottles, cans) and organic waste (food scraps).

The implementation of green office building principles is based on the fact that buildings are the biggest carbon emission producer (more than 70 percent) on earth, so that a reduction in the carbon footprint of any building would significantly mitigate global warming. Other data show that since 1960, buildings have become the biggest carbon emission contributor, followed by the transportation sector and industry.

What can we do to make an office green?

One of the efforts to make a green office is by constructing the building in accordance with green building principles. According to the Green Building Council Indonesia (GBCI, 2009), a green building is a building that has been constructed and operated in line with environmental factors/ecosystem.

Use the land wisely, with only 30 to 40 percent of the land built on and 60 to 70 percent green space (balance between developed land and green space), Green Basic Coefficient (20 to 30 percent). Make the building green by establishing a green roof or roof garden and green wall or green screen.

Save water. Turn off the faucet when not in use. Don’t let the water drip. Save water when washing your hands and dishes. Install dual flush buttons for the toilets and sensor faucets and make infiltration wells.

Save energy. Use electric equipment that saves energy. Turn off lights during the day or when not in use, as well as computers when not in use. The open doors, windows and ventilation vents located facing each other will enable fresh air to circulate in the rooms and bring in sunlight all day. Use a power supply with alternative energy such as solar power, wind power or biogas.

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