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Operating an environmentally sustainable business is not only a good choice for our world; it can also positively affect your bottom line. You do not need to spend a fortune or conduct a massive retrofit of your building. Instead, there are easy and cost-effective ways 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 establishing goals. After you have determined your goals, ensure they are attainable for your business and how you will incorporate them. Budgetary concerns will eliminate some of your plans from the outset, so focus on the affordable ones 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 determine which tax deductions or credits are available for businesses that incorporate specific sustainability practices. These may include recycling, installing high-efficiency HVAC systems, using energy-efficient equipment, and switching 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 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 necessary.
Next, get in touch with your building’s property manager or your city’s waste management department to see if recycling materials can be picked up. If so, you can boost your recycling program by placing recycling bins in your office for you and your employees. Encourage everyone to dispose of recyclables such as paper, aluminum cans, and plastic water bottles in their respective bins.
Switch to LED lights.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, residential LED lights use 75% less energy than traditional (incandescent) lighting and last up to 25 times longer. Today’s energy-efficient LED lights use far less energy and last significantly longer than traditional bulbs, lowering carbon emissions. Switching 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. You can hire an electrician to complete these tasks if you need to replace ceiling lights, recessed downlights, and light strips with LED lighting. Next, turn 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 a lot of electricity, but here are some simple ways to decrease energy consumption. First, have your IT department set everyone’s computer monitors to the energy-saving mode to “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. As a result, 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 use less electricity.
Enacting sustainability practices might not influence your bottom line, but you will see the value in the months and years. For example, an investment in LED lights will reduce energy costs starting on day one. But, they can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars in electricity costs over ten years.
Finally, a sustainable business can improve your brand’s reputation, help you hire the best employees, and reduce operational costs. Sustainable business practices also help you adhere to local, state, and federal laws and regulations related to environmental protection.
Balboa Capital, a Division of Ameris Bank, is not affiliated with nor endorses the U.S. Department of Energy. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.