Sustainability is on everyone’s mind these days as global warming related weather disasters become more frequent. When everybody starts taking their carbon footprint seriously, then there may be a reduction in these events.
However, aside from a heightened sense of civic duty, lowering the carbon footprint of your small business is also just plain good business sense. You will actually save a lot of money by going green and making your business more sustainable.
From the way we light our buildings to the amount of paper we use, there are a lot of opportunities for cost savings while also doing good for the environment. In this article, we will go over several of the ways your small business can become more sustainable.
1 – Invest in renewable energy
The cost of fossil fuels is rising every year just as the cost of energy from renewables is dropping. There is a very good infrastructure to support wind and solar so this is a great time to invest in new systems for your business. And there are always government subsidies that will help you reduce your cost to set them up even more.
Setting your office up with a wind turbine or solar panels may cost quite a bit up front even with the subsidies you get from the government. Luckily, the investment pays for itself within a few years. You can end up getting checks every month if you are on the grid as you send your excess power into it.
Many small businesses report saving up to 75% off of their energy bill when switching to renewable sources. This means that within three to seven years you can finish paying off the investment and then enjoy free energy going forward.
All you need to do is have a reputable electrical company Utah or wherever your business is to come and give you an evaluation.
2 – Go paperless
There are so many reasons for a business to go with a paperless office besides just the environmental benefits that it makes little sense to keep using it.
For starters, your costs will be reduced by a huge percentage when you are no longer spending money on stationery. With email, digital signatures, and electronic storage, there are very few times when you need to use paper.
You’ll be helping reduce the amount of trees cut down to make paper. Not only that, but the energy savings from not recycling is substantial as well. Reducing your consumption is much better than recycling because it stops much of the waste in the entire system from collection to recycling to distribution.
The savings also don’t stop with just how much less you spend on the paper itself. Storage is also costly. To file all that paper, a big section of your office is usually dedicated to filing cabinets. Or, you pay a company to store it for you at a cost.
Instead, you can digitize your existing papers and put them in cloud storage which takes up no space. Going forward, all of your new digital documents can be sent right to your cloud storage system.
3 – Go with green hosting
You likely have a website for your company that also uses quite a bit of fossil fuels without you even realizing it. When a site is hosted, it is filed in a server somewhere along with millions of other websites. These servers are basically like gigantic computers. They need to be kept cool so they are kept in a climate controlled warehouse which uses a lot of energy to maintain.
When you host your site with a company that either uses renewables to cool their servers, or one that buys carbon offsets to try to be energy neutral then you are helping to keep energy use down.
4 – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Reducing consumption is the number one way to lower your carbon footprint. There is a chain that is very long that uses fossil fuels almost in its entirety to produce and then distribute the goods you buy every day. The paper you’ve stopped using would need to use fossil fuels to cut down the trees, energy to process the paper including water, then more energy to ship the paper around the world. When you use less there is a domino effect of benefits.
Reducing the amount of energy that you use to heat and cool your office is also a good way to save money and the environment.
The next best thing is to reuse what you have purchased. If you no longer have a need for an appliance or furniture, upcycle it to somebody who can use it themselves so this is reused rather than being replaced by a new product.
Lastly, have a robust recycling program that encourages staff to separate their trash so it can be repurposed into something else. In addition, try to use products that contain mostly recycled materials.
5 – Encourage remote work
If every business allowed their employees to work from home even just one day a week, that would reduce the amount of cars on the road dramatically. The pandemic showed just how unnecessary it really is to have so many commuters go to an office when most of the work can be done more efficiently from home.
You’ll save money too when you can either move to a smaller office or just save on fewer utilities being used when there is less of a workforce in the office. Not only that, but there is usually higher production from your employees when they work from home so you can get more work done with a smaller number of employees.
It’s nice when doing the right thing for the world at large also helps save your company money and makes you more competitive. There is really no reason to not try to go green so you can enjoy all of these benefits and more for your small business.