Many people have become much more aware of simple things they can do in their everyday life that can help protect our beautiful planet. Those so called green practices can also become a part of doing business. You’re not only saving the environment, but you also save on electricity, supplies, and operations. In some instances, you may also save yourself from breaking environmental protection laws like clean air, pollution control, and wastewater quality laws, to name a few. Here’s how to reduce your business’s carbon footprint and help your bottom line at the same time.
Use digital documents, including invoicing, to save paper. If you have to use printers, make sure they have built-in wireless networking, so several workers can use a machine.
Use Recycled Paper for Printers and Copiers
Some vendors offer recycled options for stationery, envelopes and business cards.
You’ll save on travel expenses by meeting digitally instead of driving or flying.
Install Energy Efficient Lighting
Using CFL or LED bulbs saves energy. Opening blinds and turning off unnecessary lights take advantage of natural lighting. Also, consider investing in energy-efficient fixtures.
Keep an Eye on Utilities
Lowering the thermostat by one degree saves 5 to 10% annually. Service your heating and cooling equipment and ask utility providers about cost-cutting services. If you need to replace your HVAC unit, investigate energy-efficient options.
Be Smart About Equipment
Turn office equipment off at the end of the day. Using laptops instead of towers and monitors can save big. Buy Energy Star appliances whenever possible.
Make Recycling Easy
Place bins in offices and workstations, near printers and copiers, and in the break area so no one has to look for one. Take old office equipment to a recycling center for proper disposal.
Conduct an Energy Audit
Building owners can hire a professional to conduct energy audits to identify where you’re losing energy-usually around doors, windows, poorly insulated walls, attics, aging light fixtures, and appliances.
Going Green Takes Effort, So Get Credit for it
Mention your environmental efforts and certifications in your marketing materials and on your website.
Complying with Government Regulations
Certain industries, including manufacturing, automotive, agriculture, construction, transportation, and any business that uses and disposes of chemicals may have activities that fall within government environmental regulations.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), establishes and enforces environmental regulations. Currently, each of the 50 states manages and monitors compliance with those standards. Requirements for your area, as well as contact information for your state or area Pollution Control Agency is available on the EPA website.
Your state may also provide general environmental compliance assistance to small businesses. Services may include permit assistance, on-site compliance assessment visits, confidential assistance on designing compliance strategies and plans, and guidance on new regulations.
The U.S. Small Business Administration is an excellent resource for locating federal and state agencies to help with your compliance issues and questions. The SBA provides a detailed online rundown of how to locate organizations with information on air pollution, environmental compliance and management, ecosystems, clean-up, environmental permits, pollution and chemicals, water, waste, and many other subjects.
Environmental control specialists can also serve as consultants for your business. Whether it’s occasionally or an ongoing basis, these firms will help you conduct testing, file required paperwork and reports, and implement changes to ensure compliance, both now and in the future.