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Inc 5000 Great Places to Work

The 3 Greenest Offices in America

In previous posts, we’ve shown you how to make your office greener, talked about how to choose environmentally-friendly office cubicle gifts, and even looked at an environmentally-oriented group that opted not to recycle its office furniture. Now, because it’s more fun to discuss possibilities, let’s talk about what some offices are already doing right. Here, in no particular order, are three U.S. companies that are already saving the planet.

1. IBM

This one shocked us, too. How can IBM, the company that’s synonymous in our minds with giant mega-computers and reams of old school printer paper, possibly be the greenest company of 2011? It turns out, the company has been way ahead of government requirements in terms of environmental policy and disclosure; for instance, they had requirements for underground storage containers in 1979, a full six years before the EPA demanded it.


Does your office engage in studies to determine whether or not it’s more wasteful to use one big container of creamer in the break room vs. many individual creamers? If not, quail before the mighty example of Adobe Systems, which takes its recycling very seriously. Their offices are also, of course, LEED-certified. In 2006, they were “the greenest corporate building on record in the United States,” according to CNN.

3. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

With a name like that, this unit of the U.S. Department of Energy better be pretty darn green. NREL has committed to building only sustainable green buildings. Their goal is to exceed gold level LEED certification. They’re also aiming for net zero — in this case, not an internet provider whose ads haunted your TV a few years back, but rather the state of not requiring any power at all from the grid. At which point, they will presumably solve world hunger and end war, too.

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