How to Make Your Business Green

Businesses interested in going green have many resources available to help them out.

A famous frog once sang, "It's not easy being green;" but today’s small businesses have many resources available to them on how to have a green business. You do not need to be large corporation to integrate green business practices. In fact, green strategies can attract consumers to your goods and services, save your business money and spiff up your company’s image while improving the quality of the environment for all of us.

Both the Small Business Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency provide a great deal of helpful information on green ideas for small and medium-sized businesses. It may seem simplistic, but being green may start first with taking small resource-saving steps and then sticking with them on a regular basis. Here are several practical suggestions to help you begin to have a green business.

1. Undertake an energy audit of your business

Small businesses use about half the energy resources in the country. Many businesses may not be aware of how much money they are losing through energy inefficiencies. An energy audit may reveal ways in which your business is paying for wasted water, electric, and heating and cooling system resources.

To start off energy companies will often provide free checklists for energy self-assessments. For commercial audits, no and low-cost audits are often available. In addition, if you work from home, many local energy companies will provide a free home energy audit. Check with your local power company to begin evaluating your energy needs and uses.

2. Institute a company-wide conservation program

So many items we dispose of today can be recycled or reused rather than shipped off to a local landfill. Your program could be a combination of resource conservation, recycling, and donation.

Examine how your company uses paper, ink cartridges, metals, plastics, electronic equipment, and other company assets and determine how to trim or make more effective uses and reuses of these items. Instead of printing off digital messages, why not store them electronically or print them out on both sides of a sheet of paper? Explore greener supply and packaging options with your vendors. Consider recycling or donating older, serviceable equipment to nonprofits and educational programs rather than simply disposing of these items. "Crowdsource" your conservation policies by asking your employees, customers, and suppliers for their ideas on ways to preserve resources.

3. Turn it down or shut it off

About a quarter of your office’s electrical costs are spent on lighting, so turn off lights when leaving a room. Look to see when natural lighting or dimmer lighting may be preferable to standard lighting. Consider replacing traditional incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent ones. Install light timers or motion sensors to suit your fluctuating needs.

You might also be surprised to learn that about seventy-five percent of the electricity used to power your office equipment is eaten up when these machines are off. Try to use Energy Star

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