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THE 10-MINUTE GUIDE TO ...

GREEN YOUR BUSINESS

15 ways to become a go green business ... and save some green.

“Sustainability,” “go green,” “eco-friendly,” “carbon footprint” … for many businesses, adopting environmental practices can help cut costs (while taking care of the earth at the same time). Talk about a win-win!

10 minute guide go green

SAVE ENERGY

Are you using energy wisely?


The EPA estimates that office buildings waste up to 1/3 of the energy they consume. Use these strategies to pare your power purge.


1. Install motion sensors on your lights.

Motion-activated light switches keep lights on for a few minutes (whenever they detect movement). Then they power down when you don’t need them.

2. Use power strips.

75% of electricity used to power electronics is consumed while they are turned off. Manage usage by connecting devices to power strips and use its on/off switch to cut all power to your appliances.

3. Watch that thermostat.

Adjusting the office thermostat a few degrees can make a big difference to your energy costs. So try to find a compromise between freezing and sweating. (Or pass around some energy-efficient fans and space heaters).

4. Are portable air conditioners an option?

Instead of using central air conditioning, save money with portable air conditioners or window air conditioner units. This controlled cooling plan will help you avoid wasting energy on empty meeting rooms and unused offices.

5. Seal your windows.

Cut down on the amount of heat or AC that escapes drafty windows — use sealants, caulking, or weather stripping to close cracks and plastic wrap in the winter to keep out cold air.

6. Regularly change or clean HVAC filters.

Dirty HVAC filters make it harder for equipment to move air, using more energy and resulting in lower indoor air quality.

7. Think about tankless water heaters.

In offices or locations where you don’t use a lot of hot water, consider tankless water heaters — they are more efficient and to reduce storage costs and waste.

* Bonus: Harness the Power of the Sun.

Power your office with solar panels. You can actually make money on your bills in some places by providing power back to the energy company.


USE EARTH-FRIENDLY PRODUCTS

Put these planet-pleasers into practice.


8. Use biodegradable cleaners.

Natural, biodegradable cleaning products reduces exposure to harsh toxins and other chemicals — both to you and the environment.

9. Swap in LED lights.

Though LED light fixtures and LED light bulbs are a bit more expensive than incandescent bulbs, they last about 10 times longer and can cut energy use by up to 75% (over time, saving you up to $200 per bulb). You’ll also replace less bulbs and reduce waste.

10. Replace outdated appliances with greener ones.

Energy Star appliances are rated to be more efficient. They may have a slightly higher price tag, but the long term savings (energy, cost, and environmental) are worth it.

11. Get rid of paper towels.

Opt for hand dryers in your restrooms to cut the cost and waste of paper towels.


REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE

The "Three R's" at work.


12. Begin an office recycling program.

All you need to start is a few designated recycling bins to give those old documents and other paper items new use in other products. Take it to the next level and use recycled printer paper, napkins, and other paper goods. (Bonus: hang some recycling signs around the office to promote your new program.)

13. Reduce your water use.

Here’s a few tips to help conserve this valuable resource (and save a little money, in the process).

14. Replace disposable cups and bottles with reusable drinkware.

Encourage use of porcelain coffee mugs instead of wasteful paper cups. And cut down on bottled water use, give out reusable water bottles or thermoses for employees to refill.

15. Use rechargeable batteries.

Whenever possible, using rechargeable batteries in your electronics can reduce waste — they can be recharged and reused hundreds of times. Recharging a battery is more energy efficient than the cost and energy of making new batteries.


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