Wednesday, June 17, 2009

10 Ways Your Business Can Go Green

By Shireen Qudosi

If you’ve got a business, one of the most profitable things you can do is to go green. Going green has been proven to be rewarding in two key ways:

Why Go Green?

Positive PR – Showing a commitment to recycling and energy-saving habits is a great way to boost your company’s profile. It gives you a reason to talk about your company and market it in a unique and consumer-friendly way.

Don’t just save money, earn more - some companies, such as Whole Foods and Harbec Plastics have generated millions for cost cutting moves. They marketed themselves as eco-friendly, which got them featured by major online and print publishers – generating the kind of publicity that money can’t buy.

For the rest of us, there are still dozens of little things we can do around our office that can save big in even the shortest amount of time. Some slight policy changes here and there and an active interest in learning new ways to be more aware of consumption, can and does make a big difference toward protecting the environment.

Here’s what you can do…

1) Rooftop Gardens - Many urban landscapes are now utilizing green rooftops. Having vegetation, even something as simple as grass, on a rooftop not only reduces heating and cooling costs, but helps combat higher temperatures associated with urban environments.
2) Use Smaller Font – Aside from just recycling papers, using smaller front will actually saves reams per week. Other little paper saving tricks include double-sided printing and using electronic files over printed hardcopies. Not only will you be saving paper costs, but you’ll also be saving printing costs and trash-hauling costs. Hewlett Packard is one example of a company putting these ideas to use, recycling as much as 43 million pounds of paper – that’s about 367,000 trees.
3) Alternative CoolingPortable air conditioners are another great way to save cooling cost. The average 1200 sq. foot office can see cooling costs as high as $3,000 per month. Instead of cooling the entire office, get each room a portable cooling unit that’ll do the same job at a margin of the price of normal cooling.
4) Switching off – One of the most notorious office habits is leaving your PC running – now times this by the millions of business and times that by how many computers each business has! Simply switching your PC off can prevent an extra 1,000 pounds of greenhouse gases each year. Contrary to popular myth, this practice doesn’t hurt your computer, but if for any reason you have a program running or have a deep-rooted aversion to turning your computer off, then just set it to sleep mode before you call it a day.
5) Refurbish Furniture - Rather than buying new office furniture, see if your existing furniture can be refurbished. Not only is refurbishing cheaper than buying new furniture, but it also helps companies do their part in not wasting resources.
6) Lighting – Lighting amounts to about 44 percent of an office’s electrical consumption. Little things like shutting off the lights at the end of the day or when you leave the room for more than ten minutes
7) Recyclables – Set up different types of receptacles for recycling. You can get a separate one for trash, paper, plastics, and even metals/plastics since many gadgets face the trash bin as new ones get purchased.
8) Eco-friendly Cleaning - The average office is cleaned about once a week, four times a month. Each time products are used with little thought of what they're made of and what companies are washing down the drain. Simply opting to go with using environmentally friendly cleaning products, companies can do a big part in conservation.
9) Solar Energy - Depending on the size of a business, some companies may want to look into solar energy panels as an alternative means of energy. While solar energy systems can be expensive to set up, they are considerably favorable systems for larger companies willing to invest in long term savings. An added bonus is that many states now offer incentives for solar energy users, including rebates and purchasing extra energy back from the company.
10) Create a Niche - Many companies are quartering off a small section of their break room and setting up a small information section on eco-friendly habits. This not only shows your employees you're serious about conservation, but it reinforces positive office/home habits. Businesses can also encourage employees to think of new ways to save around the office.

Shireen Qudosi is a green expert working with Air Conditioner Home. A premier online retailer of residential/commercial cooling, Air Conditioner Home is dedicated to raising consumer awareness on green issues & promoting both air purification and eco-friendly cooling. She can be reached at

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