Posted on April 21, 2014 at 9:15 AM
Once upon a time… being green conjured up images of unshaven face, soiled shirts, and twig nibbling. Today, sustainability is a streamlined word at the forefront of the economy as well as the environment. Sustainability for small and medium businesses offers an opportunity to cut costs as well as reduce their environmental impact.
Has your small or medium business ever though, “gee, once the economy picks up, we’re gonna start being more green!?” Nevertheless, there’s no time like the present. Being eco-friendly is economically friendly.
Getting started doesn’t have to cost you a dime. Being sustainable can cost nothing or something – it’s all down to your budget. Here are a few tips to help your business get started:
- Beverages: Ask employees to bring their own washable mugs instead of providing disposable cups, provide an electric kettle and jarred ingredients for coffee and tea to reduce individualized packaging, and encourage reusable water bottles.
- Recycling: Provide a recycling bin next to your garbage bin. Attach a list of what is recyclable.
- Paper: Reduce paper consumption by printing double sided, email rather than print memos, and provide washable cloth towels in the kitchen and restroom rather than paper towels.
- Electricity: Switch-off computers on evenings and weekends, switch-off monitors at lunchtime and during meetings, and utilize natural daylight rather than lamps during the day.
- Ventilation: Open the windows instead of using air conditioning. Grow house plants to naturally clean the air.
- Transport: Create a carpooling program, use public transport, and encourage cycling to work.
- Water: Place a brick in the toilet’s tank.
- Energy: Use energy efficient light bulbs, replace and recycle old electricity hungry office equipment for new Energy Star equipment, and use LED lights and desk lamps where ever possible.
- Transport: Provide public transport incentives, carpooling incentives, and install a bike rack.
- Water: Install motion sensitive faucets in the restrooms or a similar water saving tap accessories. Replace old toilets with dual flush toilets that use fewer gallons of water.
Every office is different. It is always best to consult with a green professional before making any major investments. There are different types of green professionals to achieve your goals:
- Energy Auditor: Energy auditors focus on reducing energy costs.
- LEED: Certified LEED consultants specialize on projects for new buildings, extensions, and refurbishments.
- Technology Installer: Technology installers (renewable or low carbon) promote the products they represent. It is recommended to get a second opinion from a non-bias consultant before majorly investing.
- Green Consultant: Green consultants consider all aspects of sustainability including your premises, energy, carbon, transportation, suitable technologies, water, materials, ecology, and more.
The more green your business is, the more green in the bank. And don’t forget, sustainable businesses have earned ‘boasting rights’. It feels good to say to peers, employees, clients, and especially potential clients that your company is doing all it can to environmentally friendly.