If you want to save money and boost employee morale, go green. Implementing earth-friendly practices in your office does not require investing in high-tech solar panels or building a rooftop garden.
Even small business owners can make sustainable and earth-friendly adjustments to their office by taking gradual steps that meet their budget. Here are several affordable steps that you can take to “green” your office:
1. Gather feedback. The concept of reducing our carbon footprint is no longer a novel idea. Chances are your employees already use some earth-friendly practices at home. Ask them to suggest their favorite tips for the office. Getting your staff involved will help them get excited about the project and make it more effective.
2. Examine your building. Take a look at your windows and check if they are fully sealed. “Make sure you have proper insulation so you don’t have heat loss,” Randal Palach, president and CEO of NextEnergy, tells Fox Business. Also, find out if you can switch to geothermal heating and cooling, which uses 25 percent to 50 percent less electricity than conventional heating or cooling systems, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
To make it easier to switch to more energy efficient systems, there are several federal tax break incentives as well as state and local initiatives that small business owners can take advantage of.
3. Go paperless. Consider reducing the number of printers and fax machines in your office and encourage your staff to avoid printing documents unless it is necessary. Saving documents as PDFs and using digital fax services means you will need less physical storage space. It will also help you save money on printer and toner cartridges, paper and maintenance—not to mention fewer paper jams.
4. Create scrap paper. Set aside a bin or a tray for scrap paper by the printer. When the bin gets full, instead of just throwing out the contents, cut the sheets down into a quarter of their original size. Staple or use a binder clip to fasten the top corners together to create a notepad for yourself. You will get more out of the sheets before throwing them out and you can purchase fewer notepads.
5. Take control. Invest in motion sensors for lights, use energy-efficient light bulbs and remind your staff to turn off their computers at the end of the day or switch to the sleep mode, which uses less energy.
If you have a plan in place by April, consider unveiling it on Earth Day (April 22). Earth Day was founded by Senator Gaylord Nelson in 1970 to inspire awareness of our natural environment. For other ideas on how to celebrate Earth Day, visit the Earth Day Network.