Every business wants to save money, right? But why not save money and help save the environment at the same time? Eco-friendly, it turns out, can also be budget-friendly.
Here are six ways your business can tap into the green movement while pocketing some extra green.
1. Change The Bulbs
Compared with traditional incandescent, energy-efficient lightbulbs such as halogen incandescents, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) typically use about 25% to 80% less energy than traditional bulbs do, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Plus, they last three to 25 times longer than traditional incandescents.
Over time, your business could save hundreds or even thousands of dollars by going with energy-efficient bulbs that’ll reduce your energy costs and cut down on the frequency of bulb purchases.
2. Get An Energy Audit
No one likes to be audited by the IRS. But any business should welcome an energy audit.
An energy audit can prompt upgrades such as repairing air leaks, saving 10% to 20% on your HVAC bills; installing exterior low-E storm windows, saving 12% to 33%; and weather-stripping windows, saving 5% to 10%, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
Not only can those fixes save money, but they also can reduce energy waste.
Many local utilities perform free energy audits to assess the energy efficiency of businesses and homes.
3. Reduce Water Usage
Water eats up natural resources as well as financial resources.
A business that adopts water conservation measures — such as putting in drought-tolerant native plants, watering the lawn only when necessary, collecting rainfall for irrigation, regularly checking for water leaks and installing high-efficiency bathroom fixtures — can cut back on water usage and, therefore, cut the water bills.
Commercial buildings account for an estimated 17% of water consumption in the U.S., according to engineering firm Peter Basso Associates, and water accounts for 1% to 2% of a business’ overhead. If your business embraces water conservation, you can do your part to bring those numbers down.
As if the direct cost savings weren’t enough, your business also might qualify for rebates, grants and tax breaks to encourage water conservation.
4. Go Paperless
The Ecology Global Network estimated in 2011 that about 4 billion trees are chopped down every year to supply the global paper industry. It takes two dozen trees to produce 1 ton of typical office paper.
The financial effects of paper consumption are almost as startling. By one measure, the average business in the U.S. annually spends $80 per employee on office paper. If you’ve got 50 employees, that adds up to $4,000 a year.
Relying more on digital documents and less on paper documents can decrease the number of trees harvested for paper products and can decrease your business’ bill for office paper.
Furthermore, just because your business relies on paper for certain tasks, doesn’t mean it can’t find new ways to recycle these documents. To conquer the world of business recycling, you might want to reach out to a Commercial Paper and Cardboard Recycling specialist such as Wanless.
5. Promote Telecommuting
To be sure, telecommuting takes cars off the roads, which leads to less gas consumption and less air pollution. But can it save money for your business? Yes.
For one thing, telecommuting boosts productivity. A study by researchers at Stanford University found that performance among telecommuting workers at a Chinese travel agency was 13% higher than among employees who worked at the office. Researchers attribute that to more time spent on work tasks and less time spent traveling to and from work, taking long lunches with colleagues and leaving the office early for an appointment.
In addition, the researchers discovered, at-home workers were less distracted than their in-the-office counterparts.
On top of that, resignations at the company fell by 50% when employees were able to work from home.
Combined, those telecommuting benefits can trigger cost savings:
- Perhaps fewer people need to be hired, thanks to the increase in productivity.
- Less time, energy and money are allocated to replacing employees who’ve quit.
Another advantage: Telecommuting workers use their own electricity, not the business’ electricity, and oftentimes use their own supplies and equipment.
According to Ohio University, letting just one employee telecommute can shrink office expenses — including rent, utilities and supplies — by $10,000 a year. Global Workplace Analytics assigns a higher number to the savings: more than $11,000 annually for every employee who telecommutes 50% of the time.
6. Reuse And Recycle
Reusing and recycling can trim the amount of waste you’re sending to landfills and can trim expenses.
Businesses, homes, schools, hospitals and other places in the U.S. generated 262.4 million tons of trash in 2015, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Of that, only about 25% wound up in recycling bins.
If your business isn’t already doing it, establish a recycling program. Plastic bottles, aluminum cans, glass bottles and paper are among the items you can recycle rather than tossing them in the trash. There are companies who will even pay you for your recyclables!
As for the reusing part, your business can give a second life to things like envelopes and boxes. And you can ask that employees drink coffee from reusable mugs or eat their lunch with reusable utensils. These steps can reduce environmental harm and lower your overhead.
Most of us will be familiar with the trend of plastic straw bans across the West. We should all try and do our bit to change our plastic consumption habits to more sustainable ones by purchasing products like these collapsible metal straws.
Did you know Talus can help your business become eco-friendlier? Payment processing from Talus can cut down on your business’ reliance on paper. Request a quote today!