Being green is a great movement that small businesses should investigate. Not only is being green an excellent public relations move, but it also can save the company a significant amount of money. While many green decisions, like installing solar panels, are a very costly investment that are too expensive for small businesses, there are some small steps that can immediately be taken. Try these four steps to start saving money and being environmentally conscious now.
Memos for your entire staff, bulletin board notices, business proposals for the potential client you are working to woo. Your office goes through an incredible amount of paper on a daily basis. It’s hard to avoid the paper use, in fact. However, it is important to note than much of this paper is never seen in a professional matter. This means that, instead of throwing every used piece in the trash, you can reuse it. Paper on which only one side has been printed can be reused for non-professional documents.
Near the printer, keep a folder where your staff can put paper that can be reused. Learn how to load your printer so that a designated side of the paper is printed upon. Then, teach your staff how or make a sign over the printer that shows them how. Whenever anyone prints an office memo or first drafts of proposals, they can load the printer with the once used papers. When paper has been used twice, then it can be recycled. While you’re saving trees, you’ll also be saving money for your office by cutting down on about a third of your paper use!
Office lighting is another obvious expense that is fairly unavoidable. Of course your employees have to see to get work done, and no one wants to sit in a dark office. Fortunately, small businesses frequently equate with smaller office spaces. These also tend to be free of cubicles.
Open, small spaces are conducive to sunlight. Note what times your office receives the most sunlight and make a schedule of when electric lighting should be used. During the times of the most sunlight, throw open those blinds and let the sun stream into your office. Your employees will enjoy the proven health benefits of sunlight, which can even lead to increased productivity, and your energy bill will get a break while you’re taking a step towards being green.
Make an energy-efficient dress code
An energy-efficient dress code is a fun idea, but may take some office adjustments to be accustomed to it. The U.S. Department of Energy has very specific thermostat recommendations to increase efficiency and save money. For the summer, they recommend setting the air conditioner at 78 degree when you are home and warmer when you are away or at night. For the winter, the recommendation is 68 degree when you are home and cooler when you are away or at night.
The recommendations can be hard to stick to in an office setting where there are many people with different temperature comfort levels. However, this is important statistic of which you should take note: for every degree you set back your thermostat, you save 1% per hour it is changed. So if you typically set the office thermostat at 70 ° in the summer, changing it to 78 ° during the day and warmer at night could save you over 10% off your typical bill.
To make the temperature appealing to the whole office, introduce an energy-efficient dress code. In the summer, this means casual dress, like polo shirts or sandals. Advertise to your clients or customers why the office is dressed so laidback. In the winter, it’s back to suits and jackets to stay warm.
Advertise your green initiative
Clients who are interested in the green movement like to know which businesses are thinking like them. Be sure to let your clients know that you are taking steps towards being green and more environmentally friendly. You could even ask for recommendations of what ways they would like you to continue your green efforts. Being green can give you a leg above the competition, so let it be known!
Terry Carter saves money in her home office by keeping lights off as much as possible; with all her windows open, she gets natural light and heat. She freelances about a variety of topics, including a great Phoenix bankruptcy lawyer.