7 Simple Ways to Reduce Your Company’s Carbon Footprint
Various Fortune 500 companies including Siemens and Dell have announced that they will be making a major push towards reducing their carbon footprint. In return, they hope to make large savings. For instance, Siemens will be investing $110 million with a projected gain of $20 million to $30 million each year. By switching to wheat straw packaging for its products, Dell intends to save up to 40% of the energy and 90% of the water that goes into manufacturing conventional packaging materials.
With the larger companies making efforts to do their bit for the environment, as the owner of a small business, you could follow suit. By instilling energy saving practices in the business operations, you’ll be working towards the benefit of both, the environment and your company.
Tip No. 1 – Educate Your Employees
The first step you can take in reducing the carbon footprint of your business is to educate your employees on the importance of reducing greenhouse emissions and how they can contribute in the office premises and outside of the workplace. Encourage them to turn off all equipment at the end of the day when closing up. You could also connect the equipment to multi-socket extension leads so it is possible to turn off all devices with a single switch. Keep in mind that even in the sleep mode, computers and other devices continue to consume power.
Promote the use of shared and public transport with bonus points for not using individual methods of conveyance to and from work. If you have a fleet of vehicles essential for company operations, switch to electric transportation options. Be more lenient with work-from-home policies to save on energy.
Tip No. 2 – Lower Lighting Costs
Choose energy saving light fixtures like LED lights for your workplace. Train your employees to turn off lights when not using a room and install sensors that automatically switch off lights. Bring natural light into the office by using glass panes on windows, adding mirrors, and painting the walls in light colors.
Tip No. 3 – Replace Office Equipment with Energy-Saving Devices
Phase out all the energy guzzling gadgets of your workplace and replace them with power efficient models including printers, copiers, and desktop computers. Get all devices serviced regularly and keep them in top working order so they consume the minimum of power. Consider investing in refurbished devices like Dell, Lenovo, Toshiba, or Sony laptops that are practically new, work well, and are economical. You will be reducing the carbon footprint by preventing almost unused electronics from ending up in recycling plants. If you must buy new gadgets, look for those that bear the Energy Star certification label from the US Department of Energy.
Tip No. 4 – Manage Your HVAC Systems Efficiently
Cut back on the costs of healing and cooling by maintaining the thermostat at a couple of degrees up or down according to the seasons. You could also set the thermostat at 10 to 15 degrees lower during the night when the office is closed. Phase out older machinery like water heaters, heating and air-conditioning devices, and water heating units and replace them with more energy saving new devices.
Invite an energy audit team to come in and check the insulation of your premises. With their recommendations insulate the workplace and seal gaps in the windows, doors, electrical outlets, floorboards, and ceiling conduits so your HVAC systems work more efficiently. Check this article by the American Bar Association for added information on how to run a power efficient workplace and reduce your carbon footprint.
Tip No. 5 – Partner with Renewable Energy Providers
Invest in equipment that helps you generate the electricity you need to run your company premises. For instance, consider installing solar panels on the roof with the assistance of subsidies offered by the government. You could also source power from companies that use sustainable methods for generating that power and relaying it your premises. With your support, they may be able to provide services at competitive rates. By choosing a supplier that provides 100% clean, renewable energy, you’ll help reduce the carbon footprint.
Tip No. 6 – Reduce the Wastage in Your Workplace
You can adopt various methods for reducing the operational waste of your business. Here’s how:
- Use electronic communication methods as far as possible to eliminate the use of paper.
- Recycle the paper you use by using both sides of documents that are not confidential.
Encourage your workers to print documents for internal use with narrow margins.
- Convert unwanted sheets into notepads.
- Switch to recycled post-consumer-waste (PCW) stationery for office use.
- Given that documents can contain sensitive information, opt for responsible and regulation compliant paper shredding services offered by certified companies and keep your company protected from the possibility of data breaches.
- Check your supplier for packaging materials made from recycled items.
- Work out methods of how to reduce the amount of packaging you use for delivering company products and save on the carbon footprint of your workplace.
- Set up segregated waste receptacles around the office premises so employees can dump trash in the correct bins. Color coding also helps.
- As far as possible donate all unwanted office equipment and furniture to charity. Before disposing computers, laptops, company cell phones, tablets and other items, make sure to remove the hard drives and have them shredded by secure shredding services that later send the materials to recycling plants.
Tip No. 7 – Use Technology for Communicating
Thanks to the availability of video conferencing and teleconferencing, you need not organize presentations and meetings in the office premises. Even when you need to meet with prospective vendors, buyers, and other business partners, communicate using technology so you don’t need to have a bunch of people traveling to a physical location. That’s another smart strategy that helps you lower the carbon footprint. Here’s another tip. Have your employees give demonstrations to buyers over the internet.
Energy-saving techniques are highly beneficial in so many different ways. You’ll not only protect the environment but also save on the operational costs of your business. All it takes is a little smart thinking and sensible choices. And, even as a small business owner, you can do your bit for the future of this planet.