Operating an environmentally sustainable business is not only a good choice for the world we live in; it can also have a positive effect on your company’s bottom line. To do this, you do not need to spend a fortune, or conduct a massive retrofit of your building. There are some easy and cost-effective ways for you to “go green” and conserve energy. This Balboa Capital blog post explains how to make your business sustainable.
Establish sustainability goals.
The first step in creating a more environmentally friendly business is to establish a set of goals. After you have determined your goals, make sure they are attainable for your business, and determine how you will incorporate them. Budgetary concerns will eliminate some of your goals from the outset, so focus on the ones that are affordable, and that do not require a significant capital investment. For example, changing your entire supply chain to use only recycled materials would be very expensive, whereas switching the light bulbs in your office to LED lights is relatively affordable. Additionally, consult with your accountant to find out which tax deductions or tax credits are available for businesses that incorporate specific sustainability practices such as recycling, installation of high-efficiency HVAC systems, use of energy efficient equipment, use of alternate energy sources, and switch to LED lighting.
Start a recycling program.
There are numerous ways to conserve your resources, and it is no longer acceptable to be unaware of the effects of excess waste on the environment. One of the biggest culprits of waste is paper. Begin by using office paper that is produced from recycled paper products, and make efforts to print double-sided documents as often as possible. Communicating via email is another way to reduce your in-office paper consumption. Some offices have even become paper-free; they send all documents via email and print only when it is absolutely necessary. Next, get in touch with your building’s property manager, or your city’s waste management department, to see if it is possible to have recycled materials picked up. If so, you can give your recycling program a boost by placing recycling bins in your office for you and your employees to use. Encourage everyone to dispose recyclables such as paper, aluminum cans, and plastic water bottles in their respective bins.
Switch to LED lights.
LED lights offer up to 80% more efficiency than traditional lighting. Approximately 95% of LED energy is converted into light, and about 5% is wasted as heat, which is a tremendous benefit to the environment. Today’s energy-efficient LED lights use far less energy and last significantly longer than traditional bulbs, and this lowers carbon emissions. Making the switch to LED lights is one of the easiest ways to help make your business sustainable. You can quickly replace the existing bulbs in desk lamps and floor lamps with LED bulbs. If you need to replace ceiling lights, recessed downlights, and light strips with LED lighting, you can hire an electrician to complete these tasks. Next, make a habit of turning office lights off when no one is occupying a room, and add motion light detectors throughout your building. Lastly, keeping window blinds open during the colder months can help warm your office and provide natural light.
Click the “off” switch.
Computers and monitors use quite a bit of electricity, but here are some simple ways to decrease their energy consumption. Have your IT department set everyone’s computer monitors to the energy-saving mode so they “go to sleep” after 10 to 15 minutes of inactivity. Also, ask your employees to turn off their computer hard drives, monitors, printers, and scanners when the workday is over to help save electricity. Doing this can prolong the life of your computers and office imaging equipment.
Use cloud software.
If your business is not using cloud-based software and storage, now is the time to consider it. Cloud computing operates through virtual stations that can safely and securely service thousands of business networks. Cloud computing eliminates the costs associated with in-office computer hardware, servers, and cooling systems. In addition, cloud software helps you save money because you will be using less electricity.
Enacting sustainability practices might not influence your bottom line right away, but you will see the value in the months and years to come. For example, an investment in LED lights will reduce energy costs starting on day one, and they can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars in electricity costs over a 10-year period. Finally, having a sustainable business can improve your brand’s reputation, help you attract quality employees, and reduce your operational costs. Sustainable business practices also help you adhere to local, state, and federal laws and regulations as they relate to environmental protection.