So many small businesses today are committed to the idea of going green as a majority of American companies feel it is their responsibility to not only give back to their customers but to the world around them. Over the past few years companies of all different sizes and backgrounds have seen the benefits that come with going green. However, some have also seen the cost that comes with being more environmentally friendly as well.
The great news is, there are ways for small businesses to go green while keeping their energy bills and their overall costs low. Most of the time, when it comes to going green, it is all about looking at the big picture. Savings don?t always appear overnight, sometimes it can take some time for your business to see the financial benefits of going green, while the environmental benefits will likely appear much faster.
Here are some of the best ways to go green and keep costs low.
Switch your light bulbs.
One of the easiest things you can do in your office is switch the light bulbs. It is a small change but one that can lead to a great deal in savings. When buying new light bulbs, make sure to invest in Compact Fluorescent Bulbs (CFLs).
These do cost slightly more than traditional light bulbs, but they can last up to ten times longer. More importantly, they can use up to 75% less energy than traditional bulbs. Over time, you can save up to $200 per light bulb. Look at all of the light bulbs you have powering your small business and think of how much that type of savings can add up to on your bill.
Make it a team effort to unplug your electronics.
Every small business has a night time routine that they go through before they close up their business for the night. This may include taking out the trash or counting out the register, but one thing it should also include is unplugging all appliances that don?t need to be on overnight.
This is a simple solution and one that everyone can engage in. The savings will likely surprise you when you start doing this, as even items like computers that may be turned off, still take up energy when they are plugged into the wall. This is a great way to ?go green? in your business, as the main goal of this effort is to simply use less energy to create a smaller carbon footprint.
Consider motion sensing lights.
A motion-sending light is one of the cheapest ways to use less energy around the office. These little motion sensors often cost less than $20 and they can greatly reduce the amount of light you are using. When someone enters a room they turn on, when there is no movement in the room, they turn off. So many employees forget to turn lights off, meaning this can be a major saver in terms of your energy and excess energy consumption.
Go ahead and invest in new equipment.
If you have outdated appliances, go ahead and replace them with green counterparts. These appliances may take an initial upfront investment, but over time they can save your company a great deal in cash. Plus, there are so many incentives and rebate programs for those who make these types of energy efficient purchases in their business, that it won?t be long before these appliances pay for themselves.
When shopping for new equipment, look for yellow tags and the Energy Star certified label.
Seal cracks, leaks and holes.
If you haven?t had an energy audit done in your business in a while, chances are there are holes and cracks that are costing you a great deal in energy costs. The Department of Energy estimates that the average property can save up to 20% on their heating and cooling bill by sealing these cracks and leaks.
Many times you can see some of these cracks on your own, but the best way to find them is to have a professional come in and do an energy audit. Most states offer free audits for small businesses and even free or discounted repairs, making this a no-brainer when it comes to being green.
Try a solar powered charging station.
As most small businesses know, having employees in your office and using your facilities all day can sometimes be costly. In addition to needed energy to do their job, most individuals also need to charge their electronics during the workday. Things like iPads, cell phones, tablets and laptops can take up a ton of energy and cost a great deal of money.
A green alternative is to invest in solar powered chargers. Create this green charging station in your office and encourage employees who want to charge their devices at work to use this station instead. These devices can charge electronics quickly by simply using the sun as their fuel source.
Do your research.
The government has made great strides in working to help small businesses and to reward those that are more environmentally friendly with their efforts. Do the research on the incentives offered in your state or by your local utility. You may be surprised at the rebates and savings that you can take advantage of. Some utilities will even offer cash back if your business makes an effort to use less energy during peak usage times, which can make a major difference in your monthly energy overhead.