SYDNEY - There are no light switches and one plant for every person in the office at Investa Property Group's new Sydney headquarters at Deutsche Bank Place.
It's all part of a green fitout for the office, which is becoming the trend these days as the workplace leans towards becoming more environmentally friendly.
That's a good thing, say most conscientious individuals, since businesses in New South Wales spend $A6 billion ($6.9 billion) on energy each year, most sourced from fossil fuels that generate greenhouse gas and cause climate change.
The Department of Environment and Conservation NSW (Dec) says businesses that adopt sustainable energy practices will be able to reduce energy consumption and costs by 15 to 20 per cent.
Hamiltonthomson, project managers who specialise in environmentally sustainable workplaces, said companies could aim to reduce spending on energy by paying attention to several small things.
"Being green is much easier," hamiltonthomson director Max Thomson said. "Apart from saving money, our clients find the additional benefit of healthy staff pays dividends to the company."
Things like buying electricity through an approved green power programme, switching appliances off at power points, buying office products such as computers, copiers and fax machines with the Energy Star power feature switched on, installing energy-efficient lighting and using recycled paper are only a few of the numerous things one can do to become more green.
So what is a green building? And how do you measure its greenness?
A green building is designed to minimise the total environmental impact of its materials, construction, operation and eventual demolition while maximising opportunities for indoor environmental quality and performance.
The Green Building Council's Green Star system is Australia's only national comprehensive environmental rating system for buildings, assessing projects against a range of environmental criteria including water, energy, waste, transport, indoor environment quality, management, materials and emissions.
Investa and Morgan Stanly in Sydney have achieved a five-star Green Star office interiors certified rating. But they're not the only companies going green.
John Dengate of Dec said that as more big firms started to focus on their environmental initiatives as the public - including clients and shareholders - demand, they did more than just show a healthy profit.
In the last five years, the department had worked with about 400 businesses looking at energy waste and water.