Green is in. You can’t do business in today’s world without being frowned upon for not making an effort to be environmentally friendly. Being eco-conscious is not only chic, but it’s ethically, morally, and often financially beneficial.
The good news is it doesn’t take a lot of effort to make a big impact on the environment that we all share. Follow this guide to be business-green.
1. Energy Audit
First thing’s first: Figure out where you stand. An energy audit, like those discussed by the Department of Energy, brings a professional technician into your business to analyze your strengths and weaknesses. Your auditor will look for leaks, check the quality of your insulation, inspect the furnace and ductwork, and perform a test that uses an infrared camera to check your doors and windows for heat escape.
2. Green Paper
If you can’t go paperless, use green paper. Not literally, of course, but buy recycled. Recycled paper used to be an expensive novelty, but now it’s the same price or comparable to traditional paper. Use recycled printer paper, notepads, calendars, and extend it into your office kitchen. Plastic and paper cups can be recycled, and even plastic cutlery can now be made from bio-degradable plant matter.
3. Get Your Bookkeeper Involved
Get your accounting department to spare you—and your shredder—some extra work by going digital. Your invoices, receipts, checks, and records can all be digitized. A software upgrade now will help you save the Earth while saving money. Try to work with vendors that offer paperless invoicing.
4. Buy Green Energy
Most electricity is generated by large, polluting power plants. Invest in carbon credits and purchase green certificates from your power company. Also, think about secondary energy usage like Web servers. Some hosting services, like FatCow, are powered 100 percent by wind power.
5. Consume Less
Over-consumption is probably the most glaring cause of individual environmental ruin. Get rid of screensavers and put your monitors to sleep when they’re not in use. Install motion-sensor lights that turn off automatically when no one is there. Use compact fluorescent lights, or CFLs, in all of your light fixtures. Get automatic thermostats to turn the heat or air conditioning down or off after hours.
6. Use Energy Star
Energy Star is a voluntary government program that guides businesses to buying products and making changes that have a positive impact on the environment without slowing down your business or costing you bags of money.
Going green is good business. As the country becomes more and more conscious of the impact humans have on the planet we share, businesses are more directly expected to do their share. That share, however, can be little, inexpensive, and easy. In the long run, you’ll feel better, and people will feel better about doing business with you.
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