The concept of running a small business in an eco-friendly, energy efficient and sustainable manner has finally gone mainstream. A clear majority of small business owners are actively working to incorporate green practices into their company culture and this is creating an expanding green economy. The direct advantages include saving money through lower energy costs, creating a healthier environment for employees, and enjoying increased business from socially conscious consumers. Whether you simply use existing energy more efficiently or make larger investments in ENERGY STAR equipment or renewable energy sources, going green pays dividends for your company and the world.
The desire among small businesses to “go green” has reached critical mass so that today, a majority of small businesses recognize the importance of actively working to protect the environment and operate in a more energy-efficient manner. The four main ways small businesses are showcasing their sustainability are recycling, reducing waste, buying energy efficient products, and buying recycled products.
Green initiatives need to be incorporated into your company culture at every stage. The business advantages are many, including obtaining legal compliance and tax credits, saving money, creating a healthier workplace, gaining public good will, and taking care of the planet by not wasting natural resources.
It’s fine to recycle printer ink cartridges and install energy efficient light bulbs, but to really show the world your business means business when it comes to sustainability, consider getting certified. ENERGY STAR and LEEDS are two of the most common certification programs. Certification can help you lower operating costs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and command higher rental rates, among many other benefits.
Once you decide to implement green initiatives into your business culture, the question is, “Where do you start?” The answer depends on many factors, including the type of business, the age of your equipment and facility systems, local utility rates, hours of operation, and access to capital to pay for upgrades. Many small businesses are focusing on waste reduction, energy efficiency, transportation efficiency, water conservation, green purchasing, and renewable energy.