Small Businesses Implement Climate Saving Strategies

Eco-friendly OfficeThese small businesses may leave you green and not just with envy. Sixteen small businesses in California were recently recognized for their efforts to reduce their carbon footprint. What is important to note is that these companies are making small environmentally-friendly changes to increase their environmental stewardship.

Some of the environmentally-friendly steps are fairly low-cost and easy to implement in your office. As these businesses did, you can also enter your company for awards to be recognized as a green company and use it in your marketing plan.

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) recognized these businesses “that demonstrate leadership and make notable, voluntary achievements toward reducing their climate impact.”

According to CARB, “the 16 award winners were selected from 78 competitive applicants, representing a variety of business sectors. These businesses took an array of actions to save money and improve their operations, facilities and practices while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

These small businesses did a variety of things, including: installing compact fluorescent lights, solar panels and energy-efficient computer servers; eliminating toxic chemicals and solvents; using eco-friendly, recycled products; and, installing automated thermostats and light switches.

The Small Business Administration gives additional ideas on their website, such as, buying environmentally-friendly products that are non-toxic and made from post-consumer, recycled material, rated energy efficient, and/or produced locally.

Now that summer is here, there are some other things that you can do that will not only make you more green, but also save you money.

• Adjust your office thermostat higher by two degrees (during the summer) and two degrees lower during the winter.

• Turn off all lights, appliances, and equipment when not in use.

• Don’t print your emails, or aim for cutting it in half.

• When driving, avoid hard acceleration and braking and remind your drivers to do the same. Aim for a steady speed of 60 mph on the highway.

What’s great about many of these suggestions is that they reduce your operating costs and make your business more sustainable. I’m not a huge fan of Wikipedia, but in this case, I believe they have the best definition of sustainable. “For humans, sustainability is the long-term maintenance of responsibility, which has environmental, economic, and social dimensions, and encompasses the concept of stewardship, the responsible management of resource use.”

Being green doesn’t have to hurt. If you think it’s a good idea but don’t have the time to research and implement ideas, then you might want to find someone who has the time. Perhaps someone in your office is passionate about it. Empower them to come up with a variety of ideas along with a cost analysis and see what works best for your company.

Other things that you can do include conducting an energy or water audit. Next month, we will discuss energy audits and green power in greater detail.

For more ideas on how you can reduce your carbon footprint and save money, visit CARB’s site at www.coolcalifornia.org and click on the small business tab, or SBA’s site at www.sba.gov for their Green Guide for New Businesses.

Story by Jennifer Taylor

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