It is time to reconsider the common business practices and to start the transition to become more environmentally friendly. Scientists are reporting that the hottest year ever recorded was just last year in 2015. Being an environmental friendly business has great benefits, such as attracting more customers by being more responsible. And certain practices could save you a sizable amount of money annually.
Becoming an eco-friendly business is not expensive and actually can be done with a relatively small budget.
New Jersey often ranks near the top for green-friendly states but there is always room for improvement and opportunities for businesses to save money.
Here is a list of low-cost ways you can save big money on your small business.
- Replace incandescent light bulbs that you may still be using. By switching the incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), it will cost you 75 percent less to operate and will last 10 times longer.
- If you are a small-business and have a lot of daylight that comes in through the windows, take advantage of it. You will save a substantial amount of money if you choose to utilize natural lighting and avoid switching the lights on.
- Small businesses can make insignificant down payment costs on upgrading their energy by contacting a local utility company that offers a low-cost energy audit. Many energy auditors will give you a free estimate and will tell you how your business will benefit from the changes of going green.
Something as simple as LED light technology can help reduce costs drastically and immediately. Some high quality LEDs can last 70,000 hours and use up to 90 percent less power than traditional bulbs. So, coupled with NJCEP incentives and LED technology, small business can save a lot of money.
There is a DSIRE database that will display financial offers that are local to your business. DSIRE is funded by the United States department of energy. The database will recommend reputable sources that give you tax incentive to convert your business to an eco-friendly one.
- Make sure to turn off computers and other electronic devices when they are not in use. There is a common misconception that screensavers will drastically reduce energy use. However, the best way to reduce energy use from the computer is to put it in sleep mode or to just turn it off completely.
- Choosing rechargeable batteries is more cost effective than the common throwaway batteries, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. Rechargeable batteries consume up to 23 times less non-renewable natural resources than disposable batteries and actually last longer. Some people are skeptical to transition to rechargeable batteries due to the price tag. However, it is worth the investment because you are saving a trip to purchase more traditional batteries.
- Consider buying laptops over desktop computers. They use much less energy than desktop computers and take up less space. Laptops can save you lots of energy in the long-run and save you additional money.
- Unplug your charging device or smartphone when it is fully charged or when the charger is not being used. A lot of people overcharge their smartphone or device, ultimately wasting energy and ruining your batteries charge life.
- Consider upgrading your thermostat to installing a cloud one. A cloud thermostat allows you to program a set temperature schedule via wireless Internet connection. It is capable of digital temperature sensors and are able to store temperature settings. Also, it will display a history of temperatures. If there is a certain someone that always changes it, you can find out who and when.
According to Energy.gov, by turning back 10 degrees to 15 degrees for eight hours, you can save five percent to 15 percent a year on your heating bill. This can save you as much as one percent for each degree if the setback period is eight hours long.
Look into green web hosting, a growing trend because it costs just as much as a regular web hosting site. The companies that own the green web hosting site will buy carbon counterbalances and renewable energy certificates to reduce the environmental cost of running their servers.
- An alternative to reduce your paper usage is to switch to post-consumer waste (PCW) paper, paper products and packaging. Avoid buying regular paper and purchase eco-friendly paper that is recycled (also known as PCW).Buying paper that is made entirely from the paper PCW recycled paper uses 45 percent less energy and creates half the waste it takes to create traditional paper. The paper that is labeled 100 percent PCW is the most eco-friendly. However, if you cannot find that, you can always find ones that have some PCW in it.
- Allow reusable items in the office pantry to reduce the amount of paper products you use. You’re saving the trees and money. One tree supplies enough oxygen for three people.
- Consider using an eFaxing service, rather than use an outdated fax machine. You will save money on paper, toner, power and maintenance.
- Adjust your printer settings to double-sided to reduce the amount of paper you use.
- Contemplate hiring an intern. Many colleges and universities have sustainability majors currently or in the making. There are eager students willing to prove themselves out there in the job market. Hiring an intern to do research on how to cut back costs on materials that you are using could make your company more profitable.
- By slowly turning your small business into a green one, you are showing that your business cares about the environment. You can promote this value as a selling point and possibly attract more clients and customers. They will see you as a responsible company that cares about the well-being of others around them.
- Try to find furniture that is restored instead of buying brand new. Although, the furniture you bought might have had previous owners you are buying a like-new product and saving lots of money.
The current state of experiencing climate change is not going to disappear overnight. Converting to an eco-friendly business operation will not only benefit your business, it will help leave a more livable planet behind for future generations.
Transitioning to green methods of operation might be difficult. However, the longevity of its effects will far outweigh adjusting to it. Clients and customers admire a business that is environmentally conscious. Saving money is vital for any business and becoming eco-friendly could lead to a far more profitable business than expected.
Jonathan Sanzari is a contributing writer & copy editor with Meadowlands USA. He has an associate degree in arts from Passaic County Community College and a bachelor’s degree from Ramapo College of New Jersey in communication arts, focusing in journalism. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.