Learn more about the processes, initiatives and habits of enterprise businesses, and how you can adopt those processes to help your business run better.
Going green is more than just a social obligation. Being environmentally friendly offers business benefits such as reduced waste, better efficiency, and tax breaks. In addition, many customers prefer to support brands that are green—operating your business in an eco-friendly manner can improve trust in your brand and help drive business.
Here are 6 steps businesses can take to run green.
1. Reduce your light usage.
Replace your light bulbs with more energy efficient versions. Make sure to turn them off at night, too!
2. Maintain your HVAC system.
Heating and cooling systems use a lot of energy, so keep them in good working order. Consider replacing systems more than 10 years old with newer Energy Star systems. Yearly maintenance can reduce energy costs by 5 to 40% depending on the system.
3. Switch to energy-efficient devices and appliances.
You’d be surprised how much energy you can save by switching to Energy Star-qualified products. Refrigerators that were built after 2001 use up to two-thirds less energy than older models. Energy Star appliances use up to 20% less energy than standard models, so consider whether upgrading is a good investment. (Don’t forget to recycle your older appliances.) Sometimes even switching the type of equipment you use can lead to huge energy savings. Laptops, for example, use up to 80% less energy than desktop models.
4. Conserve water.
The average business consumes 480,000 cubic meters of water per year. Replacing older faucets and toilets can reduce water use by as much as 20%, and may offer tax rebates as well. (Check your local tax authority for details.) Consider making small changes that can add up. For example, if you’re a restaurant, don’t automatically offer water to every customer—wait for them to ask for it. If you have an outdoor space, consider using environmentally-friendly landscaping that requires very little water.
5. Be mindful of local environmental issues.
Some areas have special concerns such as local endangered species or fragile habitats nearby. Check what environmental regulations are mandated in your area and make sure you comply with them.
6. Reduce, reuse, and recycle as much as possible.
Train employees to be mindful of supplies, and creative in how to reduce waste as long as it is sanitary. Reuse materials when possible, and recycle the rest. Make it easy for customers to recycle in your store, and make sure any packaging or bags you use are also recyclable.
Being ecologically responsible can seem daunting when you first get started. Spark your commitment to going green with something small, and stick with it. Once a quarter, re-evaluate whether you can take it to the next level. Every small change adds up.[image: Recycle by Alan Levine on flickr]