by Grace Barone
Mother Earth. The floating rock in the middle of space that we all somehow ended up on. The concept of that sometimes throws me into existential dread because it's pretty crazy to think about. But anyways, we need to take care of it. Regardless of what you think about global warming, the ozone layer or pollution, you should want to take care of our home planet. Without the planet, there is no life. Taking care of the planet doesn't need to be hard or a giant ordeal. There are many ways that the everyday person can go green. Small businesses have a big impact on their communities, and can be very influential. In this blog we'll discuss easy ways that small businesses can become more eco-friendly.
Ways Your Business can Go Green
Imagine a society in which small businesses are empowered to bring about change, one sustainable step at a time. Eco-friendly practices are no longer just a fad; they are now an imperative requirement for companies hoping to succeed in a market that is changing quickly. Small businesses have a special potential to spearhead the movement towards a greener future as consumers prioritize environmentally friendly purchases. Small businesses have every reason to start on this transformational journey, from lowering their carbon footprint to building a reputation for sustainability. Here are 5 easy ways that small businesses can go green.
1. Perform an Energy Audit
A building, facility, or company's energy usage and efficiency can be evaluated via an energy audit. It entails analyzing energy consumption trends, locating energy waste, and suggesting ways to increase energy efficiency. An energy audit is performed to get a thorough understanding of how energy is utilized, identify inefficiencies, and offer practical suggestions for lowering energy use and related expenses. This may be the most expensive part of the initial transition into going green, but making adjustments will save your business money in the long run. Business owners can preform their own energy audit by simply walking around their business and looking at a few of these things.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, homes and commercial buildings consume 40% of the energy used in the United States. Of the $2,000 the average American spends paying for energy annually, $200 to $400 could be going to waste from drafts, air leaks around openings, and outdated heating and cooling systems. Look at where your thermostat is located. If its in direct sunlight or next to a drafty window or door, it may not be preforming accurately. Simply moving your thermostat or turning it up a few degrees can cut costs and increase energy efficiency.
Take a look at how many light bulbs you have and what kind they are. Energy-saving light bulbs use up to 80 percent less energy than standard bulbs. If your lights have traditional bulbs, consider replacing them with CFL or LED bulbs. Energy-saving bulbs don't need to be replaced as often as traditional bulbs, this will cut your businesses costs and reduce energy usage.
You should also check the age and energy efficiency rating of appliances in your business. For example, a refrigerator that is more than ten years old is probably not as energy-efficient than more recent versions. Look at the ENERGY STAR rating of the appliances. If the ratings are low, consider buying a new one to save money in the long run. This can be especially helpful for restaurants, convenience store and even office building with staff lunch rooms.
2. Conserve Energy
Preforming an energy audit will definitely help you conserve energy, but it does require some labor and finances to make changes. You can do smaller things that can have the same effect on a daily basis.
Turn off Electronics
Turning off electronics when they are not in use can conserve a surprising amount of energy. Shut down computers, POS machines, things like coffee machines, anything that doesn't necessarily need to be turned on and plugged in when the day is over.
Enable Sleep Mode
If there is an option to turn sleep mode on any of your businesses devices, you should activate it. Sleep mode is found in a lot of technological gadgets. When a device is put into sleep mode, it transitions into a low-power state that uses less energy while allowing for an immediate return to normal operation. Devices including PCs, laptops, cellphones, tablets, game consoles, and other electronic devices frequently employ the sleep mode.
Invest in Light Timers
This is something VMS implemented. Light timers can be a great way to easily cut back on energy usage. It's easy to forget to turn a light off after you've left a room. Installing light timers will guarantee that unoccupied rooms aren't using unnecessary energy. They are usually motion activated, so when someone walks into a room the lights turn on. When the timers detect zero motion, they will shut off. This is great for bathrooms, break rooms, walk in coolers, supply closets, really any area that people frequently walk in and out of.
Take Advantage of Natural Light
Unless you're a vampire, sunlight is great for peoples health and even better for business owners wallets. Taking advantage of natural light can reduce the need for overhead lights. If you work in an office, consider setting up desks and cubicles near windows. For restaurants, make sure your windows are letting in light during the day for your guests. If you have access to natural light, use it! It can boost moral and cut back on your electric bill.
3. Get Green Supplies
Any kind of business is going to need supplies. It's easier than you think to find sustainable options.
Natural and Environmentally Friendly Cleaning Supplies
Cleaning supplies can contain harmful chemicals that get released into the environment. These chemicals either get rinsed down the drain, evaporate from clean surfaces, sponges, etc. Janitors and other staff who clean the work place get exposed to heavy concentrated cleaning products, which is not good. The United States Environmental Protection Agency has great recommendations for environmentally friendly cleaning supplies.
Buy Recycled Paper and Print Double Sided
If you can go completely paperless, you should do that. But, sometimes that's just not possible. If your business has to use paper, consider buying recycled paper and printing double sided. This is a simple change that can help your efforts to go green. Here's a site that sells recycled paper.
Take a look around your work place and see if there's any disposable items that can be swapped for reusable ones. If your business uses a lot of paper or plastic cups, try and encourage staff to use reusable cups or water bottles. If you have plastic cutlery in the kitchen, try to swap those out too. Avoid single use K-cups and just stick to a regular coffee pot and traditional mugs for morning coffee.
4. Long Term Sustainability Practices
Small changes can add up have a big impact on the eco-friendly nature of your small business. Implementing better habits for your business and your staff can become the norm and create massive change over time. Here are some things that you can do that will pay off in the long run.
Subsidize or Buy Public Transit Passes for Employees
Install Indoor Bike Storage
Organize Carpooling Program
Allow a Hybrid Work Schedule if Possible
Having a hybrid work option can cut down on costs, energy usages, and carbon emissions. Business owners wont have to spend as much money heating and lighting a building every single day, cutting utility bills down and lowering energy usage. If employees aren't commuting to work everyday, your businesses carbon footprint is also shrinking.
Benefits of Going Green
Not only are you helping the planet by going green, you're also doing your business a lot of favors by switching to a more eco-friendly business plan. Here are some other advantages of becoming a more eco friendly small business;
- Providing a healthier work environment for yourself and staff
- Improving your reputation
- More opportunities for tax credits and possible grants
- Getting a competitive advantage over other small businesses
- Regulatory compliance
- Making your small business more resilient and future-proofing your brand
Making your Business Go Green
Did you also know that your POS system can help you go green? At VMS our POS systems are Cloud based. Using the Cloud is more environmentally friendly than using a local server. Managing and processing data on a local server greatly increases carbon emissions. Here is a great blog that talks all about how Cloud based systems can help your business be more eco friendly! If you're interested in getting a Cloud based POS system to help your efforts of going green, visit getvms.com or fill out the form below.