Grow Green with Your Business

Running an eco-friendly business isn’t just ethical and environmentally sound ─ it can save you money and help you stand out from your competitors, too!

Try these green-inspired strategies to grow a smarter and more sustainable small business dream.

Start with an Energy Audit

If knowledge is power, then knowing how to conserve energy is green power. An energy audit can shed some serious light on your business’s eco-friendliness. There are energy audits you can run on your own, or you can work with your local utility company. Once you know where energy is being wasting, you can make a game plan to boost efficiency.

Opt for Alternative Energy Sources

Does your community offer alternative energy programs? Green power — generated from renewable energy sources including wind, solar, geothermal, hydropower and plant matter — can make a positive impact on your business, the community and the planet. Join a program today and make the world a better place.

Green Lighting Options are a Bright Idea

Part of your energy audit may highlight your light sources. If you haven’t already considered CFL and LED lights, now’s the time to make the switch. Sure, the initial purchase price might be a little higher, but you’ll reap the rewards with a longer lifespan and less energy consumed. This quick and easy change instantly starts your sustainability efforts on the right foot.

Reduce Your Water Use

Have you looked at ways to reduce both indoor and outdoor water use at your company? Low-flow toilets and faucets can make a big difference inside. In addition, offering drinking water in bulk dispensers and reusable drinking containers for your clients or for your team showcases your hospitality and also eliminates the use of bottled water. Reusable drinking containers with your logo also make great gifts. If you have landscaping a drip system for irrigation is a great idea. Or perhaps you want to go with drought resistant plants that don’t require much, if any, watering.

Divert Your Waste

What is your local waste collection process and is there a way you can divert your waste from the landfills? An office recycling station with the appropriate bins and signs will encourage your clients and team to join the program. If your community supports an organics recycling program you may want to try this too. Partnering with your landlord’s or your waste hauler will help you divert waste from local landfills and protect the backyards of your community.

Find Green Partners with a Procurement Plan

Where do your goods come from and how are they made? The buying-local trend continues to gain traction and if your business can support your local economy, then that’s a great way to start your procurement plan. But it’s not the only thing that matters. Dig into your suppliers and learn about their process. Do they focus on sustainable resources, reduced waste and eco-friendly ingredients? If you learn that their practices don’t quite live up to your green goals, find a company that does so you can feel good about who you partner with.

Build with Sustainable Construction Materials

Are you thinking about adding on or building a new office? If you’ve considered doing any construction to your business you can add green to the plans by looking for a company with an eco-friendly approach. You’ll find that some construction companies use recycled materials, sustainable materials and work to improve infrastructure safety. If you’re a DIYer, consider looking at your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore to see if they have the building supplies you need. Their approach to refurbished, slightly used and overstock materials not only saves you money and uses a green approach, it also supports a great cause.

Get Creative with Upcycled Furniture and Displays

How about giving old furniture a second lease on life in a creative way? Upcycled furniture and displays have become a huge trend and they give your business a fresh and cutting-edge feel. If you’re handy you can save money by using secondhand items and creating your own upcycled masterpieces. This way you’re not adding another piece of furniture to the landfill and you’re eliminating waste from manufacturing — your green efforts are really adding up!

Update Outdated Appliances

Go old with furniture and new with appliances. Upgrading your appliances is a great way to save your business money and save on energy use. Energy Star appliances are clearly labeled and instantly let you know you’re purchasing an item that’s got long-term sustainability goals with economic and environmental savings baked in.

Switch to Post-Consumer Waste Products

Sometimes you can’t skip the paper, but you can use the eco-friendly kind. Post-consumer waste (PCW) paper products are made entirely from recycled paper. Making PCW paper uses less energy and creates less waste. Look for products that are labeled PCW and make the switch at your business. Then remember to recycle your used paper so you can double your efforts. And don’t forget to set your printer to 2-sided default printing, instantly cutting your paper use in half.

Can Your Landscaping be Even Greener?

Take your landscape in an even greener direction with customized plants. Find a landscaper who focuses on eco-friendly techniques to see what options best suit your area. Native and drought resistant plants, strategically placed trees and low-maintenance greenery are some ways you can create attractive landscaping that saves water, energy and money.

Use Green Cleaning Products

Make green cleaning a priority with biodegradable cleaning products! Not only will you protect the environment but you’ll reduce your exposure to harsh chemicals. If you have a cleaning service, ask if they’d be willing to use green products or look for a cleaning company that specializes in eco-friendly solutions.

Go Green with Your Website

From scheduling appointments to paying bills, a website can help your company go green, and it responds to your customer’s needs with ease and speed — something they’ll love!

But you can actually go further than that. Did you know your website itself might not be eco-friendly? One thing to check is how your hosting service gets their power. Some of them choose renewable energy sources. The coding, design and elements of your website might also be using more energy than necessary. A light color scheme and websites that are optimized for fast loading require less energy. If you do have pages for visitors to print, make sure they’re printer-friendly so they use less energy, ink and paper.

Grow Green as a Team

Tap into your team for ideas on how to make your daily operations more sustainable. Not only will you show your employees you care about their opinions — you’ll benefit from their hands-on insights.

Consider offering a bonus to employees who carpool or bike to work. Or get your business involved with a community organization that supports your green values. Encourage others to join your sustainability journey and watch your small business grow.

Stay Committed to Your Green Efforts.

Being green should be part of your business’s DNA, not a marketing ploy. Make changes gradually, and let the results become a natural part of your business’s vision, values and overall brand. Not everything needs to be completed at once and a couple lapses doesn’t mean you have to ditch all of your efforts. As they say, every little bit counts.

And share your green efforts with your customers and the community. Let people know that you care and want to make a positive impact on the world around you. This helps your company’s reputation and you may find that more eco-friendly ventures come your way. You might become involved in green projects in ways you never even imagined!

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Related Topics: Safe Business Tips , Workplace Wellness