When it comes to your small business, every expense matters. If you change even the smallest of habits, you can save a huge amount of money on your bills.
One method for cutting costs is to go green. In addition to contributing to the sustainability of the world, you’re going to save monetary resources and spend less on operational costs.
The following are some of the ways that you can reap the benefits of having a green office:
1. Switch to document scanning
Printing out documents is a big waste of money – not to mention, earth’s resources. Ink is pricey and well all know it runs out too fast. Plus, it’s only detrimental to the environment to use all that paper. Instead of printing out your papers and filing them away in a cabinet, try a document scanning system.
It’s so much easier to view and read what you need on a screen. Sure, it’s not as traditional or tangible as having something to hold and flip through, but what you lack in matter you’ll make up for in cost.
2. Install solar panels
If you own the building you’re working out of, you may want to consider installing solar panels. According to Brite Idea Energy, at the very least, you can cut your electric bills in half. It’s quite an investment up front, but in the long run, you’ll end up saving more on your electric than you could ever imagine.
If you share the building with other companies, see if you can get everyone on board for solar power. If the other tenants are unsure, offer to host a meeting and discussion where you list the benefits and show the amount of money you’ll save your businesses in the long run. This may be one of the more extreme suggestions on our list but it’s well worth it.
3. Use energy-efficient light bulbs
When looking for light bulbs to brighten your office, go with ones that are Energy Star certified. Stick to ones that are either halogen incandescents, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), or light-emitting diodes (LEDs). According to Energy.gov, incandescent bulbs use 25 percent less energy than normal ones.
LED’s will save you the most bang for your buck. They use ‘20%-25% of the energy of the other two varieties and can last up to 25 times longer. The only downside we can think of is the crazy brightness they provide, but install a dimmer and you’re all set!
If you choose to use CFL’s in your green office, though they use less energy than traditional bulbs, they do tend to have a little bit of mercury in them so be careful when handling.
4. Make energy-saving guidelines for employees
You’ll need to inform your employees when your small business is on the path to going green. Make sure to educate them on all the benefits in person by hosting a meeting or presentation. Let them know how they can do their part to reach your green goals.
We recommend also listing tips and tricks in writing so that they can pin it on their corkboard and be reminded each day. You can encourage them to start switching off any lights that aren’t in use and shutting down all desktop or laptop computers at the end of the day. Also, reminding your employees to email documents instead of printing them would hopefully get some good habits going.
5. Reassess your coffee situation
Do you provide coffee to your employees? More and more businesses use a Keurig system in their break rooms, but those single-use cups are quite costly to you and to the environment. Instead, get a real coffee maker that makes real coffee. One where the whole office drinks from the same brew. Sure, there won’t be as many varieties of flavor but you can spend some of the money you’ll save on an excellent roast. We have a feeling you’ll also feel better about the lack of waste left behind during its creation.
Do another good deed by swapping tiny single-use creamers for full sized cartons of milk or half & half. Make sure everything comes in a recyclable container and watch your waste footprint deplete. We should also mention that your staff is sure to appreciate a fresh supply of dairy rather than the kind that sits in a bowl on the counter all day.
6. Fix your leaks
Your costly water bill might be attributed to leaky faucets in your kitchen and bathroom. Hire a plumber to come in and do an assessment to ensure that you’re not wasting precious water and spending too much on your bill each month.
Let your staff know to keep an eye out for any leaks or drips. That way they can alert the proper person before anything gets out of hand or overwhelming in your green office.
7. Get green cleaning products
If you hire in-house cleaners for your small business, provide them with green cleaning products. They’re better for your employees’ health and the environment. Plus, you’re going to use less chemicals and save money. You can find the top green products on the Environmental Working Group’s website.
If you’re looking to dive into even greener territory, make your own cleaning products using simple and safe ingredients. Almost everything can be cleaned with a little white vinegar and hot water. Try adding various essential oils, like lavender, lemon, or cedar to make your green office smell delightful. Doing so could brighten a lot of moods and make your employees feel alive again!
8. Let employees telecommute
Telecommuting results in big advantages for businesses and the environment. Less in-house workers means less desks, less lighting, less coffee consumption. You’ll save on energy costs from not having as many electronic devices plugged in and you’ll cut your phone bill by having workers make calls on their own devices.
According to Global Workplace Analytics, if businesses let their employees telecommute half of the year, they would save an average of $11,000 during that time. Think of what your small business could do with that extra money. You could spend that on things your business actually needs like new computers, stand up desks, or a better office space.
9. Incorporate more natural lighting into your workplace
You can forget buying new light bulbs altogether if your office has enough windows to make do. The professional norm is to turn on all the lights, full brightness right when you get in the office. But do we really need all that intense florescent lighting 8 hours a day, 5 days a week? The answer is no, not if you have windows.
When you enter the building or office, open the blinds and see how much light pours into the work space. In most cases and in most places, the sun shines bright enough to read and work by during the entire workday.
Place desks nearest windows so that it gives your staff a healthy dose of Vitamin D and positive energy. The natural light will make your employees feel more alert and help them get more done throughout the day.
10. Buy some timers
If you purchase timers for your lighting and appliances, you can definitely save on your electric bill. If your staff leaves in a hurry or if you just forget, lights can be left on overnight. That’s a lot of wattage coming from a lot of bulbs. Using timers will save you from ever having to shut them off yourself at the end of the day.
You can get timers that attach right to the wall or ones that require installation and look a bit more classy. You can even purchase ones that detect motion. Use plug-in mechanical and digital timers for your appliances, as well.
Going green is great for your business in a number of ways. If you haven’t already, now is the time to invest in the environment and your business. More and more offices are taking advantage of the benefits of going green. Not only will it make you feel better about your business; it’ll also make your business look better to everyone else.
Want more information on how Contentverse can help your small business go green and cut costs? Check out our website to learn about our products.
Header image by Zhao. Embedded images by 55Laney69, Jeff Drongowski, Elton Harding, Tyler Ingram, Lauren Manning.
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