Ryan K writes. Running a business is a big task, especially if you have a few people below you. There are all sorts of things to consider and one should be becoming greener. In a world, where cutting carbon emissions is becoming increasingly important for the earth, running an ethical business is a necessity for customers and business owners alike. So, how do you do it?
Green Your Commute
On average, American workers spend 47 hours a year commuting in rush hour traffic. That adds up to 23 billion gallons of gasoline and 3.7 billion hours that are wasted stuck in traffic every year. Some of this strain can be eased by walking, biking, taking public transportation, carpooling, or some creative combination of these options. If you don’t have an effective way of phasing your car out, think about utilizing a car sharing service such as Zipcar or Flexcar, or getting a scooter, motorcycle, electric vehicle or hybrid car. Some employers offer bonuses for carpool and bike commuters along with special perks for hybrid drivers. For those people who think riding a bike is for tattooed couriers and kids, think about getting an electronically assisted or high-tech folding bike.
Believe it or not, most power in an office is consumed by machinery that has been turned off but is plugged in a live outlet still. Standby power is an unnecessary and huge expense and environmental culprit. Programs such as Surveyor can be used to automate and improve this process through automatically powering down business computers after office hours.
Get Rid Of Screen Savers
Institute a company policy that forbids using screen savers. Set your computer monitors to power off instead after the same length of time. That is just as easy anyway.
Consider Using Solar Power
It is true that solar energy systems tend to be expensive, and depending on you your office setup and location isn’t always practical. However, your initial investment can provide you long-term savings. Also, many states these days offer incentives for users of solar energy, such as rebates and being able to sell your extra energy to your utility company.
To offset residual emissions that you aren’t able to mitigate or reduce beyond what you have done already, make use of a reputable carbon offset program. Being carbon neutral is definitely worth pursuing. Introducing alternative forms of energy such as solar panels or a commercial water source heat pump could greatly help to lower carbon offset.
Choose Green Hosting
Switching over to green web hosting is one of the more overlooked ideas for going green. It has a high impact and negligible cost since it allows you to reduce the amount of indirect emissions coming from your carbon footprint. It also allows you to display an eco-label on your business website so that visitors can see the attempts you are making to reduce your Information Technology environmental impact.
Work from Home
Video conferencing, instant messaging, and other innovative and productive workflow tools allow effective telecommuting to be possible. If you are able to take online classes, conduct phone conferences, telecommute, or work from home in any way, you should try it out. It can save all of the time you would be spending on your commute and is better for the air and environment as well. You also can work from home via a virtual office in your pyjamas, which is an added bonus. Currently 44 million Americans telecommute. You can also consider working a consolidated work week by working four ten-hour days rather than five eight-hour ones if that is available to you. This cuts 20% of your time and energy spent on commuting and you will have three-day weekends as well.
Use Natural Light
Approximately 40 percent of total electricity consumption in the average office building is used by artificial lighting, and nearly twenty five percent of all electricity used in the U.S. This is often unnecessary. Whenever possible, open up your blinds and allow the daylight to come in. Also don’t leave your lights on after everyone has gone home for the night.
Have Motion Sensors Installed
Take a tour of your office. Make a note of how many conference rooms and offices have lights on even when no one is using the space. Rather than depending on employees to make sure lights are turned off when they leave, have motion-activated light switches installed. They turn lights on for certain periods of time (e.g. 15 minutes) when someone walks by the switch or moves around in the room.
Use Light Colours to Decorate With
When you use high-gloss sheens and light wall colours, less artificial light is needed because natural light reflects off of walls more easily.
Use Compact Fluorescent Bulbs
Compared to incandescent bulbs, compact fluorescent bulbs consume 75 percent less energy. They also last around 10 times as long. So you will save on your replacement bulb costs, energy costs and reduce the amount of waste you use. They are available in different wattages and sizes. Soft sheens are also available that are not as stark and garish as previous versions were. You won’t need to convert any equipment; any light using incandescent bulbs will be also able to use compact fluorescent bulbs.
Develop A Company Environmental Policy
Develop and implement a company environmental policy. There are guides available that will help you write an effective environmental policy.
Ensure staff are trained
Ensuring staff are trained to the highest levels can be a great way to ensure that your business is being as ethical as possible. Whether that’s first aid training courses, environmental awareness or otherwise – there are loads of ways to do so.
Measuring your carbon footprint will help you identify where the greatest impact lies and help inform you what you can do to reduce it.
These tips will help your business become a greener and more efficient one in the coming year, helping to make a notable difference.