Going “green” is beneficial for the environment as well as a company’s bottom line. Understanding how to update your company’s operations to a green model involves doing a great deal of research into how your company can make a smaller environmental impact.
1. Upgrade Your Energy
Companies that want to go green have several good options when it comes to powering their buildings. Solar and wind power both provide significant environmental advantages. Solar and wind power pay for themselves in a matter of years and can soon sell electricity back to the grid at a profit. This means that green energy makes sense from an economic standpoint.
Companies should also do their best to conserve the use of energy in their facilities. Lighting, heating, and water use can all be optimized. Two standards that companies should keep in mind are Energy Star and LEED. Energy Star certifies appliances for environmental friendliness. LEED is a building standard that ranks how well a building is conserving energy. Look into your business’s use of energy and make sure that you can comply with Energy Star and LEED certifications if at all possible.
The efficiency of computer and electronics systems also needs to be looked at. It is important to set PCs and other electronics to go to “sleep” when they are not in use. Simply putting electronics in sleep mode saves a great deal of energy each day, reducing power bills and economic impact.
Companies should also switch to CFL or LED lightbulbs. These bulbs use far less energy than conventional incandescent or fluorescent bulbs. They also provide better and brighter light for employees.
Companies that recycle materials have lower costs and are better for the environment. In addition to recycling ordinary waste from the office like cans and bottles, companies should consider recycling their production materials. They may be usable as-is, or they could be sold to another company that will use them in their own production.
Companies should also use recycled products, especially paper and plastics.
3. Buy Organic
Restaurants and food stores should consider going organic. Organic produce has a lower environmental impact than conventionally farmed food, and it is less likely to carry dangerous pesticides and byproducts. Buying organic products may cost more upfront, but businesses that have a good reputation for healthy food and organic products will build a loyal following and sell more products overall.
One business that has experienced success with going organic is Organic Bunny. Amanda Jo of Organic Bunny believes that focusing on green and organic products has helped her attract new customers as well as providing a fresh alternative to mass-produced cosmetics and beauty products.
4. Reduce Transportation Costs
One of the top contributors to environmental pollution is transportation. Cars and trucks use fossil fuels and produce greenhouse gases that cause global warming. Today’s environmentally conscious companies can look for ways to minimize their ecological impact by reducing travel. Traveling out-of-town to meetings can be wasteful when video chats are available.
Any time that a load needs to be trucked, companies should make sure that the trucks are full. Partial loads use as much fuel and are less environmentally friendly per mile.
5. Using Natural Materials
Companies that want to go “green” should consider using natural materials in their buildings and in their products. Sustainable wood and stone are excellent options. Companies should also think about using large windows and skylights to let in natural light to reduce the use of electricity in lighting applications.
6. Going Paperless
As much as possible, companies should think about going paperless. Many employees still depend on printed paper, but most jobs can be adapted to take place on the computer without having to waste paper.
Paperless companies are also less expensive to run and have better data security than those still using a large amount of paper products.
7. Make and Sell Organic Products
In addition to making your company’s operations “green,” companies are encouraged to sell organic products to their customers. Products made with recycled materials are also less expensive to produce and attract an environmentally aware customer base.
Reducing Your Environmental Footprint
Companies should look for ways to “go green” and reduce their environmental footprint in any way they can. Updating energy sources, recycling, buying organic, and paying attention to transportation are ways in which the average California company can make itself a better global citizen. Jo use these principles in her own business, and encourages all entrepreneurs to have an open mind when it comes to environmental issues.
Featured Photo: Amanda Jo of Organic Bunny