In the past, working in an environmentally conscious environment used to be considered a luxury. Not many businesses were willing to make those investments in time and money to achieve something that, in people’s eyes, had no value at the time. For some time now, that is not the case as the environmental priorities have shifted and came more into focus. Meeting environmental responsibilities head-on is not only a good thing to do but is also often mandatory by law. Small businesses and startups may not be concerned with their environmental impact which is a mistake.
Growing our business from the get-go in an environmentally conscious manner is also very efficient on the wallet. We can make a more sustainable office by using much more energy-efficient appliances, lighting and processes. It can help us save energy, time and therefore, money. Having an environmentally conscious brand also helps raise public awareness in a positive way. Here are some ways on how to grow our business while adopting environmentally-friendly policies along the way.
Water is one of the basic building blocks of life and is therefore invaluable. For the time being, water is plentiful, but that will not remain the case forever. Especially not with the consumption rate that we are having today. For us, it is a great way to save money and have a positive influence on the environment. Leaky faucets are a dead giveaway for inefficient plumbing and will literally cost us money while we waste water. We can waste gallons of water a day if this aspect is left unchecked. We can always ask a plumber to check our water network for any inefficiencies and give us the advice to reduce our water footprint. If we want to take it a step further, we can do our research into eco-friendly water system options to further reduce unnecessary wastage.
Recycling has been here for a while now and is still one of the most prominent terms when it comes to ecological thinking. Businesses worldwide are making great efforts to use recycled materials whenever possible. Positioning recycling bins for different material groups is a very simple way to get started. Paper, cardboard, plastic and miscellaneous materials all have their separate bins for easier disposal afterwards. Each recycled ton of paper saves about 7 thousand gallons of water and three cubic yards of landfill space.
We can always opt for office supplies made from sustainable resources to aid the cause. Copy paper can be made from recycled paper, cardboards pens and eco-friendly folders are just some of them. Since the separation of trash is common in various parts of the world, people will already be accustomed to this concept. Reusable water bottles and coffee mugs, which are essential for any office, are going to reduce the number of discardable coffee pods and bottles that end up in a landfill near our backyard. Leading by example is always the best way to get people engaged in a good cause.
Most electronic appliances have some sort of energy efficiency rating. These are clearly labelled and we see them always but never really spot them. Energy star ratings represent their efficiency when consuming electrical power. It is a great way to be eco-friendly and cut electrical costs by opting for higher-ranked electronics. The next time our monitors, for example, need replacing we can do an energy efficiency check for the best-ranked replacement available. It will help us towards our goal of low energy usage and will pay for themselves down the line in reduced bills.
Trees, plants and the flora in general, are a vital part of our global ecosystem. They filter out pollution and generate oxygen. As for our business, they can also make it much more aesthetically appealing. It is also proven to reduce stress and tension in the workplace and can make employees feel more like at home. Creating a comfortable working environment has never been easier and more affordable. As for maintenance, it does not require a lot of effort apart from occasional watering and trimming. Shade from trees provides great benefits, especially in hotter weather as it reduces the heat radiated back from the pavement. This further reduces our air conditioning costs.
What most people fail to consider when it comes to electronics is that they always draw some kind of a load. Turning off equipment when it is not in use can save us a lot of money, time and effort. An active kill-switch designed for turning everything off when the shift has ended can also increase our equipment lifespan. Our appliances and electronics will, therefore, last longer and will minimize our need to replace them.
You know that little red or blue light that is always on, even if you turn off the appliance? The one that goes out only if you disconnect the entire thing from the wall? That little light indicates that there is some load being drawn from the mains and is known as the Vampire Load. It is only a fraction of the load being drawn when the electronic is functioning, but multiply it with the number of all the appliances in the company. Now we have a very significant number that indicates wasted energy that is completely preventable. It was estimated that, in Europe alone, if we were to get rid of all vampire loads, several dozens of thermal, coal-burning, powerplants would be closed down. Furthermore, installing smart power meters can help us monitor power consumption in real-time. This can help us resolve any inefficiencies down the road.
Furniture and office supplies
Almost all of the furniture eventually ends up at a landfill somewhere when not needed anymore. It is a waste created out of necessity like moving or renovating a venue. It poses a great problem as these materials have a lot of reusable potentials. An ordinary desk chair is made out of several different materials and chemicals. Wood, metal, glass and plastic can be reused several times over. Buying reused furniture and other office utensils is a great way to save money and further promote the idea of being eco-friendly. Recycled desks, chairs, flower pots or even searching for recycled mats online all add up to the total.
Alternative sources of power
Solar power, wind power and falling water all fall under the category of zero-emission energy sources. What it means is that they give off no toxins and have no negative effects on our surroundings. These not only help the environment while giving us much necessary power but can also greatly reduce our energy bill even further. Wind and solar alternatives are reaching cost competitiveness with fossil fuel derivatives and are directly addressing the environmental needs and policies we share.
There are also plenty of incentives to go this route. These used to be offered only to large businesses but not anymore as even smaller ones want to start off early. Solar panels are no longer expensive and putting them on our unused roofs is a great idea for at least cutting back on our dependency on the grid. Some countries are also providing tax cuts to businesses that qualify for being eco-friendly.
Natural and low power lighting
Natural light has been proven to be one of the most stress-relieving factors in a working environment. Maximizing it with large windows and avoiding artificial lighting whenever possible also cuts down on our energy consumption even further. Of course, that is not always possible depending on where we live, what the season is and if there are graveyard shifts in place. Instead of using old incandescent lightbulbs, the world is switching over to fluorescent (CFL) or light-emitting diode (LED) ones. These have a higher initial purchase price but quickly make up for it every other aspect. They consume a fraction of the energy, last several times longer, burn brighter and offer a plethora of different tone and colour options to choose from.
These steps may seem like small ones to some, but they are nothing of the sort. They represent incremental advances towards the distant goal of an emission-free world. They are simple to implement and will serve us and our bottom line in the long run. We too can take on the responsibility of preserving our natural environment and promoting a positive and green future.