More and more, people are beginning to understand that embracing green solutions isn’t just good for the planet; it also can be great for your company’s bottom line. Sustainable solutions have a reputation for being expensive, but, particularly over time, making the decision that’s good for the planet is often also the decision that’s best for your company’s profitability and sustainability. But where can those solutions come from?
Top-Down: Some of the most effective green business solutions are company policies that can become part of the company culture. Replacing old, energy-wasting hardware with newer, more efficient models will, in most cases, recoup their cost by lowering energy bills. Similarly, some equipment, like an HVAC system, may require maintenance and upkeep to return it to near-peak efficiency. Another great avenue to explore is switching to an alternative energy source. Many energy companies are offering green-packages and, depending on where you are located; they might even cost less. A more outside the box version of this idea is using a green web-hosting company. These companies offset their own energy output to offer carbon neutral hosting services at a similar or lower cost to those relying on fossil fuels. Companies can also try to use as little paper as possible and, when necessary, to use post-consumer waste (PCW) or recycled paper products.
Bottom-Up: Empowering your employees to be a part of making their workplace more green is another important step. If you encourage employees to recycle their paper products, that’s a good start, but you can go far further. Reuse your printers’ ink cartridges rather than throwing them away, trade in, donate, or recycle old electronics, compost, or, if possible, encourage workers to start a rooftop garden. While some energy-reduction measures, like switching to more energy efficient lightbulbs or motion detectors rather than switches, are best implemented from above, invite your workers to be part of the solution by making sure their computers and other electronics are turned off, or even better, unplugged. Finally, you can cut down the energy costs of your office by allowing your employees more freedom with their schedule. A flexible policy on working from home, implementing a four-day work week, and reducing the number of in-person meetings has the potential to both boost potential by giving people more actual control over their day to day lives and to lower the day to day energy cost of running your business.
From the Government: Local, State, and Federal government offer a wide range of tax incentives, rebate programs, and more designed to help businesses become more energy efficient. Find out whether your local or state government will pay for your business to get an energy audit to find out where you need to improve. Not only are many of these audits free, most state and local governments will offer to assist with the cost of the improvements they suggest. Check out the Department of State and the Department of Energy for what policies and program are in place to assist you with upgrades. Whether it’s something as simple as replacing your lightbulbs or something as comprehensive as installing solar panels on your roof, odds are there’s a governmental program that will help you cover that cost. It’s just up to you to find them.
Truly embracing green solutions for your business is more than just making a few little changes around the office. It’s about embracing environmentally sustainable practices as part of the core culture of your organization. Not only will this help the environment and save you money over time, but it will also help position your energy as being on the right side of this culturally defining moment.