Steps to Sustainability
Your business activities can leave a big impression on the environment. Bring your environmental footprint down to size by following these strategies:
1. Use energy more efficiently. Start simple; turn off lights and equipment when they’re not being used. Next, hire a qualified professional to perform an energy audit of your business to target the most effective energy-saving measures. Upgrading water heating and HVAC systems are usually your best bets for improving the energy efficiency of your business.
2. Conserve water. It takes a lot of energy to heat the water used in your facility. By using less water, you’ll be helping to conserve two precious resources. Install water-efficient showerheads and faucet aerators. Reduce water temperatures to no more than 120°F and repair leaks quickly. If your facility has a high demand for hot water, consider heat recovery from waste fluids to heat or preheat water.
3. Reduce, reuse, recycle. Your environmental footprint goes beyond your walls. The materials and equipment used in your business are produced somewhere else and shipped to your location, all of which impacts the environment. Look for ways to use less; it could be something as simple as printing on both sides of the paper or preventive maintenance to extend equipment life. Establish a company-wide recycling program.
4. Travel smarter. Employees driving to and from work produce a substantial amount of air pollution. Encourage (or subsidize) employees to use public transportation or organize carpools and allow employees to work from home whenever possible. Minimize business travel through web conferencing, email and other low-emission communications. Use fleet vehicles only when needed and look for fuel-efficient models. Natural gas vehicles provide an efficient and cleaner burning alternative.
5. Near-source. All businesses require resources to function, whether it’s office supplies or raw materials for manufacturing. Transporting these resources to your door uses energy and creates emissions. Near-sourcing—using vendors close to your business—can reduce your environmental impact and may save you money as well.
6. Ship goods more efficiently. If your business delivers products, ship sustainably. Ground shipments, by rail or truck, are more fuel-efficient than shipping by air; fewer, large shipments will use less fuel than frequent light loads. If you don’t have enough goods for full shipments, consider teaming up with other local businesses.
In a competitive market, these and other sustainable measures can help make your business stand out from the crowd.
For additional ways to save money and energy, visit our dedicated small business rebates section here.