Small Biz Strategy

How Small Businesses Can Save Green While Going Green

by Dawn Fotopulos on September 3, 2014

go_green_at_work_saves_money-resized-600Greening your business is a smart move but it also can be an expensive one. Alternative energy sources are often more costly; the same goes for many things marketed as recycled or upcycled.

While certainly well worth it considering that big businesses are often capable of doing more to clean up the earth than individuals because they’re operating on a larger scale, the price tag can convince smaller and mid-size businesses that going green is out of reach.

The truth is that going green can be a real money saver – especially for smaller businesses and sole proprietors for whom every cent counts.

Whether driven by a legitimate concern for the earth or the promise of a future sales boost thanks to publicity generated by green initiatives, there’s no time to go green – and start saving green – like the present.

Here are six ways businesses at every size can minimize their environmental impact while boosting the bottom line.

1. Use less paper: When employees print less, companies are on the hook for less paper – which is good for Mother Earth and for balance sheets. How much printing is truly necessary these days and how much of it is habit? Go paperless if possible, and if not, encourage staff to print only what is absolutely needed.

2. Get a business energy audit: Collaborating with your property management company to schedule an audit and implement the recommended changes can lower heating and cooling costs by up to 20% and save your company hundreds in other areas, too. Google “free energy audit” and your state to find one gratis.

3. Buy used, remanufactured and refurbished: Remanufactured electronics not only save money, they also help save the earth by ensuring you’re not contributing to the 1.8 tons of raw materials and 29 gallons of fossil fuels it takes to build just one new desktop computer. And a group of Swiss researchers found that 50% of the environmental impact a single mobile phone has happens during manufacturing. Just make sure older tech is still energy efficient. Click here for more information on refurbished and used phones.

4. Switch to LEDs: These bulbs cost more at the outset but they last a lot longer than CFLs, use much less energy and don’t contain the mercury and other toxic gases that make both CFLs and incandescent bulbs so challenging to dispose of safely.

5. Implement a telecommuting program: Cut down on commuting and you take cars off the road. Cut out office hours entirely and workers are putting in their time in a space they’re probably already heating and cooling.

6. Power off at night: Incentivize unplugging at the end of the day so individual employees take the initiative or assign the task of powering down the company to whoever is closing up shop for the night. Alternately, look into gadgets designed to turn off computers, lights and other power-draining electronics on a timer.
Cut thousands of bucks in bills each year and look good in the eyes of eco-conscious customers? There’s nothing to lose! Just make sure you create an environmental mission statement to let the world know your company is committed to being a part of a greener tomorrow.

- Jessica Oaks

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