Having spent many years commuting to office buildings and spending the whole day in one giant cubicle farm, I jumped at the first chance I got to work from home when I got the opportunity. Besides the environmental benefits, you also get several tax benefits. Here’s what you need to know if you are planning to set up a home office:
Consider Having a Home Office
Opting to run your business from the comfort of your own home office is a nice way to go green, and it’s even better than commuting. The proliferation of smartphones and tablets, online conferencing offers a great way to hold meetings, and it is no longer necessary to have face-to-face meetings in many businesses. Why don’t you play your part and help reduce traffic to cut on the greenhouse gas emissions? With a properly designed and equipped home office, there’s no reason not to meet your clients at your home.
Cut out Paper
One of the biggest environmental problems a business creates is paper based. Printing costs a business money and is also extremely bad for the environment. This infographic from ecardshack.com suggests that one card sent by a business creates 29g of carbon as opposed to only 4g for an ecard. That’s a big difference. Throw into that the cost of printer use and ink and cartridge manufacturing and you can see paper and printing is bad on a number of levels.
If you want to find the best options for every part of your personal routine, the Environmental Working Group Skin Deep Database provides you with a comprehensive resource. Here, you will learn the benefits of the green products, and even realize that most of them cost less than or same as their more toxic counterparts; not forgetting they are much better for the environments, and your health as well.
LED or Compact-Fluorescent (CFL) Lights
Although both the LED and CFL might have a higher retail price than the standard incandescent bulbs, they usually last longer, and essentially use significantly lesser energy. LED and CFL lights can save you as much as $200 per bulb in the long run, and can fit in most fixtures around your home.
Energy Star Appliances
Replace your outdated appliances with the more modern greener counterparts to save more energy. The energy Star rated appliances come with labels that indicate their cash and energy requirements over time for your assessment. Be sure to look for the yellow tags the next time you buy an appliance, and see up front the long term environmental and economic savings.
Get an Energy Audit
Make simple changes around your home and office with an energy audit. According to the energy department, sealing cracks and leaks around the house can cut as much as 20% of your total heating and cooling costs. You can get free energy audits in most states, and you will only have to pay for repairs. Look up online for free energy audits for your state for leads.
You can also power up your home or office with alternative energy sources. Many states have platforms where you can purchase green energy sources, even from the current provider. This green energy is generated from renewable sources of energy including solar and wind power, plant matter, hydropower, and geothermal. Although purchasing the green power might increase your electricity bills by a small percent, keep in mind that some of the funds are used to buy the clean energy into the grid.
Using hybrid or alternative fuel vehicles, public transportation, or a bike will essentially reduce the carbon footprint of your business, and will even highlight the commitment of your business to looking after the environment. In the long run, this will save you a considerable amount of cash. Even though conventional businesses are trying to go green in traditional manners, it’s still not enough to cut enough carbon.
Think outside the Box
Besides making sure you recycle everything that can be recycled around you, think green when you want to replace or purchase items. You can consider buying vintage or used office furniture rather than purchasing new pieces. eBay and Craigslist are some of the best places to find deals barely used office furniture.
Green Web Hosting
Some web hosting companies take part in green initiatives such as planting trees, using renewable energy, and purchasing carbon offsets as well as renewable energy certificates to mitigate and minimize the environmental costs involved in running their servers and infrastructure. These companies often offer services that cost less than or the same as from those running their servers using fossil fuels.
Following these simple tips can save you a significant amount off your bill, and make your business very attractive to the eco-conscious clients. Regardless of the steps you have chosen to undertake, let your clients know you are undertaking them by having a green practices section in your website or an environmental mission statement.