With the focus shifting more and more towards how to be friendlier to the environment, the conversation often centers on how individuals can lessen their impact. However, while there are a number of things people can do to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions – from ditching their vehicle for transit or reducing or eliminating their intake of red meat – businesses can also make relatively simple changes to ensure a healthier planet heading into the future.
Considering that residential and commercial sectors – excluding farming and industrial operations – account for more than 12 percent of all greenhouse gases, making changes can have a significant impact on overall emissions, explains Rodney Don Holder, vice president of business development and operations at CEI in Georgia.
Replace Inefficient Lighting
Businesses still often use incandescent lighting inside their workspace, which uses more power than necessary. LEDs are the more accepted form of indoor lighting, and a 60-watt LED bulb can save up to 80 percent of power usage compared to a 60-watt incandescent bulb, and that includes halogens.
Not only that, but an LED bulb has a much longer life than a traditional light bulb, meaning fewer replacements are necessary. LEDs also give off less heat than some other forms of lighting and are generally cool to the touch.
Having file folders full of paper documents may still work for some businesses, but it’s not the friendliest to the environment. Using secure digital records in place of paper files can make information more easily accessible, and you can grant access to selected parties for information sharing or even electronic contract signing when necessary.
Consider whether a document needs to be printed or whether it can be shared through an electronic method. Of course, the costs of paper and printing ink can also be dramatically reduced while using up fewer resources, he adds. Offices that rely heavily on printing can be spending upwards of $1,000 per employee in supplies annually, according to research cited by Rodney Don Holder.
If you do have to buy paper, try looking for printing supplies from sustainable sources – and that includes choosing recycled paper.
Embrace Video Conferencing
Gone are the days where you must physically be at another location in order to have a face-to-face meeting with a client or employee. Digital communication tools such as Skype and Slack have lessened the need to travel across town – or hop on a plane – to meet someone to discuss business matters.
Video conferencing technology can allow many people to link into the virtual meeting room to share ideas and updates, regardless of where they are. If you do have to get across town and digital conferencing is not ideal, then consider carpooling or taking a more efficient form of transportation such as public transportation or a bike, suggests Rodney Don Holder.
Choose Eco-Conscious Vendors
While your business operations may be more streamlined to reduce emissions, that doesn’t mean your supply chain is not still having a negative impact, warns Rodney Don Holder. He notes that sourcing products from overseas means more emissions from shipping, which can be offset by choosing inventory from suppliers that are local or committed to reducing its own carbon footprint.
One large-scale example of this is Target, a large retailer that has told its suppliers they need to cut their emissions by 30 percent by the year 2030.
Build a Green Roof
This approach to reducing energy use has been adopted by many major cities, perhaps most notably Washington D.C. In fact, the nation’s capital had more than 1 million square feet of greenspace on building tops as of 2017.
This solution may not be the most economical of the bunch in terms of up-front costs – it can run an estimated $25 per square foot according to the EPA. But businesses that adopt a green roof can more easily regulate the temperature of their indoor space without relying as much on HVAC systems, which can cut energy bills, explains Rodney Don Holder. The foliage on a rooftop can naturally absorb much of the sun’s harsh rays that can lead to elevated temperatures in a building.
Additionally, having plants on the roof and inside a workspace can purify the air while helping to regulate indoor climate.
Rodney Don Holder concludes that the added bonus to many of these changes is that it can actually benefit your business’s bottom line while giving it a more eco-friendly brand image that customers appreciate. With the importance of combating climate change, having your company look for greener alternatives can help you do your part.
Green Business is the Goal and Holder’s Tips Can Help
Holder has shared some very helpful tips for businesses striving to go green. You should follow this advice if you want your business to be eco-friendlier.