Going green is all the rage right now, but many business owners question whether it is possible to do so without a large investment. Here are six economical ways to get the ball rolling (1):
1. Use compact-fluorescent lights (CFL) or LED lights. Although initially the price per bulb is higher than other bulbs, splurging on them will save you money in the long run since they last up to 50 times longer than a typical incandescent light. They can also cut energy use by up to 75%.
2. Get an energy audit and seal leaks. Some states offer energy audits for free, and others cover a portion of the cost. According to the Department of Energy, sealing energy leaks and cracks can cut up to 20% off the costs of heating and cooling bills.
3. Use green web hosting. A web server on average produces more than 630 kg of CO2 whereas a green host produces zero. Green web hosting includes carbon offsetting and renewable energy certificates to diminish the environmental cost of running servers and infrastructure. Using renewable energy as well as planting trees, plants and grass around and over data centers are a few ways web hosts are made greener.
4. Invest in energy-efficient appliances. When replacing appliances, look for the energy star label. Sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy, appliances with this logo will use 35% less energy. Another bonus is that you may even be eligible for a tax credit when purchasing products with this label.
5. Unplug machines that aren’t in use. A lot of office power is consumed by machines that are powered off, but still plugged in.
6. Go digital. Use web-based programs that provide free ways to create, organize, edit and share schedules, agenda, protocols and notes without paper printouts. Google offers free tools to help with this. All business owners have to do is ask every employee to create a free Gmail account and share documents via programs within the email account (like Google Docs, Sheets and Slides). The business owner, as administrator, can control who can view, share and edit these documents online.
Google programs not only include email and document sharing, but also programs for creating and sharing slideshow presentations, graphs, spreadsheets and charts. Google also has free calendar and groups pages, which allow for discussions without having to hold a meeting. Last, Google Drive offers free digital storage space for documents instead of taking space on your computer.
1. K. Harrison, “10 Ways to Green Your Business and Save Money,” Feb. 7, 2013, www.forbes.com/sites/kateharrison/2013/02/07/10-ways-to-green-your-business-and-save-money/#3e9dfe2a5c9e, accessed April 6, 2016.
Published in WholeFoods Magazine July 2016