Most business leaders with limited capital hear the words “environmental protection” and immediately turn the other way. Sure, we all want to do something to reduce our companies’ carbon footprints and dependence on nonrenewable energy sources, but which startup has the money to invest in a solar panel array or install an entirely new HVAC system? The short answer: not many.
Luckily going green doesn’t explicitly mean having to drop tens of thousands of dollars on changes around the office. There are several things companies big and small can do to greatly reduce their impact on the environment without facing big spending thresholds. Better yet, these small steps can help reduce overhead and speed up efficiency, saving money and encouraging growth at the same time.
Don’t believe it, do you? For the suspicious out there, here are several ways going green can save companies green without demanding huge investments in the process:
Buying used Furniture and Equipment
Going to second-hand stores and electronics refurbishers to find desks, lobby furniture, computers, printers and more does more than save a startup hundreds if not thousands of dollars. It also means that company, however big or small, was able to avoid creating demand for further mining, logging, and polluting processes which accompanies items bought brand new. What may seem like a miniscule method of reducing a carbon footprint can become game-changing if tiny tech startups make it trendy to buy old furniture and equipment from big boys like Facebook and Google. It’ll be a lesson borrowed from business savvy comedian Chris Gethard who earlier this year repurposed parts of David Letterman’s old set for use on his own show, going so far as to dig it out of the CBS trash.
Opting for CFLs and LEDs
Lighting is one of the most important albeit least appreciated aspects of good office workspace design. Once the proper light setup has been devised it’s a guaranteed money saver to install CFL or LED bulbs into the sockets. Not to mention these bulbs use far less energy than the classic incandescent light bulb despite emitting an equal amount of light. TJX Companies along with several other leading world retailers have made it a priority to install CFLs and LEDs in all of their warehouses for the savings benefits. It’s important to remember these bulbs do cost a little bit more upfront than their incandescent counterparts but considering they last ten to 50 times longer it’s well worth the extra few bucks per bulb. In fact it’s a guarantee that if your business growth calls for relocation in a few years you’ll be able to bring the bulbs with you to the new office.
Opting for Alternative Energy Sources
Small business startups in practically every county in America have the ability to opt for some kind of alternative energy program through their power company. In fact, companies in over half the states in the union are able to choose from several business energy providers offering alternative energy sources, due in part to deregulation over the last several decades. If you operate in one of these states then it’s possible to shop around for the best alternative energy package out there. This in turn allows any company big or small to seize the best savings from their power company, while knowing they’re supporting superior energy solutions for the future.
Consider that retail behemoth Wal-Mart has committed itself to 100% renewable energy sources powering every store. It’s safe to say opting for alternative energy sources is a safe bet for the long-term picture.
Buy Post-consumer-waste Paper Products
Every decade is lauded as the one destined to see the death of paper-bound media in the business world. I write this while trying to drown out the noise of the copy machine two rooms down the hall, so we see how post-paper our society has gotten so far. Truth be told the closest companies can get to significantly squashing their thirst for the flesh of dead trees is to, A., always make an effort to make all transactions and business paperless, and B., make an effort to buy post-consumer-waste products commonly abbreviated to PCW. While it may be the truth, “100% Recycled” is not a guarantee, while anything marked PCW must provide the percentage of material which is actually recycled. These days everything from printer paper to packaging materials can be found in PCW form. Savings are earned through the continued limiting of paper dependence and the fact that PCW paper goods tend not to cost more than their standard competition.
Helping save the environment by reducing pollution and stretching resources tends to be one of the last things on the minds of eager entrepreneurs trying hard to sell a brand or raise capital for the next big thing. “When I get around to it” and “When we have the means” are usually the mental escape tunnels used by business leaders when confronted with going green. However there are several ways, as mentioned above, that any business big or small can reduce their carbon footprint. Even better these methods will usually lead to money saving benefits over time. No business big or small can say no to that.