Thursday, August 19, 2010
Going Green, Without Going Broke
The signs are everywhere; green is the new gold. A Prius on every corner, an energy saving bulb in every streetlight. The world is truly changing for the better as people become more and more conscience about their mother earth. As a society we are trying to make the healthiest choices for our plant. We recycle, we reuse, we compost, among many other things, but as a small business owner is it really possible to uphold a green image without going broke? Luckily, the answer is yes. While the prices of hybrid cars might make someone clutch their wallet in fear, a few simple steps can be taken to guarantee that your business will be environmentally friendly, therefore still attracting the nature-conscious crowds, without spending all of your own hard earned money.
Open the window, or light a fire
It may blazing outside, or maybe your toes have gone numb from the cold, but the answer is not to crank up the air or the heat, but instead to utilize a more natural source of temperature control. Open a window and let the breeze blow in, and add a little atmosphere at the same time by hanging a windchime by the open window. Indoor air is oftentimes more polluted than the air outside! Of course there is the chance that the business is in a smoggy, stinky area. In that case there are other alternatives to chill out. A great way to cool off and save energy is to use a ceiling fan. A normal fan will use only as much energy as a 60-watt light bulb, and this averages out to be 98 percent more efficient than an air conditioner. In the winter the problem changes, and you need to keep your customers warm and toasty. The first step is to make sure that the building is well insulated, this is crucial to cut down on your energy bills. Make certain that all windows and doors are sealed, and that there are no places that the frigid air can sneak in. If you really want to cut down the costs, invest in a wood furnace. Oftentimes they cost less than a used car, and can cut your energy costs down to nearly nothing. There are plenty of companies that offer wood burning furnaces as alternatives to gas. Boot up the computer and do a search, the answers are everywhere.
Save a tree, save a dollar
While trees are a renewable resource, the human population clear cuts forests so fast that the trees have no time to recover. There are hundreds of ways to save paper in a small business, most of which are completely overlooked during day to day life. When you use the printer, print on both sides of the paper, and while you're on the computer go ahead and pay your bills online. Keep flash drives or CD's handy to keep your records on. Not only will you save filing space, but you will also save on paper costs. Make sure that all employees have an email address, and email important company news instead of printing and mailing. If your business is food related, use cloth napkins instead of paper. You can wash and reuse cloth napkins hundreds of times without ever having to order replacements. Lastly, offer reusable cloth bags for a small price as an alternative to paper or plastic. These reusable bags not only help the environment, but if they have your company logo, they also act as free advertising for your business.
Get together to go green
A large part of having a successful green company is making sure everyone in the company is participating. Carpooling is a simple measure that has been popular for years, and if done correctly, it can save everyone vast amounts of gasoline and money, while helping to not pollute. Make sure everyone has their tires inflated correctly, as it saves on gas mileage, and have the carpool cars maintained regularly, to prevent emissions. Make a company phone list, and let everyone decide whether or not they'd like be be included. This makes it easier for employees to keep track of schedules and policy changes without having to drive to work.
Keep it simple
Going green isn't all about the hybrid car or solar panel energy. The simplest ways to to be friendly to nature are often the ones that do the most good. Instead of buying cleaning supplies, make your own with ingredients like baking soda or vinegar. When your old computer starts to wear out, recycle it or donate it to your local Salvation Army, don't throw it away. Printer cartridges can also be refilled, instead of buying new ones. These steps may seem new, but there are other things that are encountered in everyday life that can make a difference as well. Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth, and only use the dishwasher or washing machine when they are completely full. Simple things like this are what going green is really all about.
Going green may seem like a fad at times, just something that everyone does to look cool. In reality, this may be true for some people, but for others it's a lifestyle that will help to save the planet. Small choices can help save the world, and if handled right going green can also help a small business not only be good to the environment, but save money too.
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