An environmentally conscious business in today’s world can be a huge competitive advantage in multiple ways. For this exact reason, you might of seen a big uptick in companies promoting themselves as green, environmentally friendly, or other similar terms indicating their care for the environment while conducting business.
Whether a company implements “green” aspects into their actual products, packaging, or even behind the scenes; they can realize the two main benefits: more influential marketing power and lower operating costs. The fact that going green can actually save a company money may come as a surprise, but we assure you that it is in fact beneficial in terms of PR and cost savings to go green.
How you ask?
Think about it. If you could invest in a system which would reduce costs by 50% and virtually pay itself back in 5 years but last much longer, would it be worth it? While yes, the investment may turn some company’s away from it, but for those companies that can see the future benefit they will gain from the investment are the ones who will most likely make the conversion to greener operations. So, enough of what going green can physically do for your business. Let’s get into the 9 ways you can actually go about making your business more “green.” From reducing energy, to reducing waste and using green materials, here they are:
- Going paperless isn’t just for banks. You might of gotten requests from your banks in the past few years asking you to switch to paperless (if not forcing you). In some cases, they even incentivized it! But, why can’t you take this environmentally and cost saving benefit and implement it into your business? Fun fact, you can. Requiring documents only to be printed when they need to be signed and mailed should be a new office rule. In fact, it’s totally possible to go 99% virtual when it comes to documents these days. All you need is an efficient file management system and you are good to go.
- Incentivize “green thinking.” It’s impossible for one single person to identify every area of a business and how to greenify it. Instead of trying to do it all yourself, incentivize your employees. Whenever they come up with a unique new idea for you to implement, incentivize them with something. Whether it be pizza, $20, or a nap. Don’t be boring and just let your employees be creative. They are your first line of defense and will surely make your green efforts that much stronger and efficient.
- Convert your lighting system to LED. Every single one of your commercial lights in your building, car lot, office space, hallways, and so on could benefit from converting to LED technology. It is by far the most efficient lighting technology around, and converting from other technologies to LED could reduce your light fixtures energy consumption anywhere from 30% all the way up to 75%.This sole reason is what is causing many facility managers and building owners to love the technology, and that’s not including the other benefits of LED.
- Implement green packaging and design. If you currently use old fashioned packaging techniques, you most likely use non-green packaging. In regards to how to actually go about this, talk to your manufacturer or packager as that is not within the scope of this post. But just remember this, it will be a huge marketing play which will allow you to put something like “green packaging” on your product.
- Install a programmable thermostat. Setting your heat and cooling system to turn off and on when needed can save a great amount of energy associated with your HVAC system. Additionally, setting your temperature to be at a steady and comfortable temperature will ensure you aren’t over (or under) heating / cooling your building. In turn, this will lead to more efficient work and output by your employees (another cost saving benefit).Additionally, make sure your system is well maintained. The filters should be changed often and regular maintenance will ensure it is running at optimal levels. Another thing you could do is invest in a new system which is up to date and specifically an efficient model.
- Get environmentally friendly company cars. If company cars is a part of your business, stop getting a gas guzzler. Instead, go for the most efficient models which give you the most mileage per gallon. Better yet, go for something which doesn’t use gasoline at all!
Note: This is recommended only when you are in need of new company cars. It could get pricey and the ROI will be virtually zero if you replace completely fine cars with new ones for no other reason than to save gasoline.
- Solar panels. Solar panels for businesses are becoming more and more popular. Not only will it save your company in a lot of energy costs (if not get rid of them entirely), it will improve your public image of your facility. Like a lot of things on this list, it’s a win-win! Oh and if you produce extra energy, you will typically get paid for it by selling it to the electric company!
- Turn off computers entirely. Believe it or not, sleep mode doesn’t save any energy. Instead, you have to turn them off entirely for it to truly not suck up any energy. To go a step further, unplugging your system will 100% prevent any energy from flowing throughout your computers when not in use. So by making a new routine to turn off and unplug your computers at night, you will not only save energy but reduce wasted energy.
- Reduce, reuse, recycle! We’ve heard this statement before, and it certainly applies here. Sure, you might recycle but you may be unaware that no one else does. Why? Most likely because it’s not easy to do. Either your recycle bin isn’t near the trash, or your don’t have one. In either case, make sure you have a recycle bin next to every trash can. To go a step further, put a notice above the bins reminding everyone to recycle.
That about sums it up for our top 9 ways a business can go green. From converting your existing systems and fixtures to more efficient ones to optimizing your packaging to be made of more friendly materials; they all play a role in this process.
If you truly want to make a difference, both in your company’s images and cost saving actions; start implementing each of these things into your business. From there, you employees should help with the on-going process and overtime come up with more and more ideas. Eventually, you might even run entirely green!