“It’s not easy being green,” sang Kermit the Frog, in his 1970 ode to being different. When it comes to the business world, it’s certainly not so easy to be green, and not as cost effective in the short term, but it’s important to look at the big picture. Constructing or redeveloping your business in a way that’s more environmentally effective can have numerous long-term benefits, both for the planet and your bottom line. So what are some of the best ways to make your business greener?
In this day and age, it’s far easier than it used to be to use green energy. An increasing number of renewable energy facilities are in operation, and many local country power providers offer options for both business and residential customers who want to only use energy derived from renewable sources. This can be more expensive than a traditional power supply; so another idea is the installation of solar panels, much as you can do at home. Also like at home, these solar panels should be thought of as a long-term investment- something that will save you enough money over the years to eventually cover the cost of purchase and installation. After your costs have been covered, your solar power generators can even feed excess power back into the grid, for which you’ll receive payment. Your costs can be reduced even further with some common sense processes, such as installing low energy light bulbs and ensuring that lights and machines are switched off when not in use, or at the end of each day (a master switch for the office can make this a breeze). There are many Environmental Data Resources available to help you construct an environmentally sound workspace, no matter where in the country you might be.
Being (Literally) Green
Now that smoking at bars and restaurants is a thing of the past in most countries, it can be nice to come home from a night out without your clothes reeking of cigarettes. The smoky air inside those bars was on a par with the worst polluted cities on earth, and wasn’t great for your health. Indoor air quality, even without smoking, isn’t generally so great- in fact, it can often be worse than the air outside. Offices are particularly prone to poor air quality, with the frequent use of toxic cleaning products, as well as the fact that most office furniture is manufactured using processes that means the furniture will continue to emit small amounts of chemicals into the air. Furniture and flooring that’s produced in an environmentally friendly manner is best, and it’s also a great idea to fill the office with as many green and leafy plants as possible, for the best available air quality.
While it can be a significant initial investment, ensuring that your office is at the cutting edge of communications technology is an easy way to go green. Video conferencing software is of such quality that a face-to-face meeting is no longer as important as it used to be, and free programs such as Skype or Google Hangout make it even easier; you just need to ensure that your equipment and Internet connection are of the best quality. Reducing face-to-face meetings reduces the need for corporate travel, which minimizes your company’s carbon footprint. Another option is to allow staff to work from home, wherever possible. It’s one less car on the road each day, and your staff will even reduce the amount of pollutants they produce if they don’t have to wash their work clothes so often… After all, many of them will probably opt to work in their pajamas.