The following is a guest post about going green at the office. If interested in submitting a guest post, please read my guest post policy and then contact me.
Creating an environmentally friendly office space is not only important for sustainability, it can also have a positive impact on your bottom line and the way your customers perceive you. However, green products are often more expensive than less sustainable options on the market. So, what steps can you take to make going green more affordable, and reap the benefits of your changes? If you’re considering going green, create a sustainability plan and accompanying budget. Then, open a small business checking account to support your purchases. You may need to consider taking out a business loan or line of credit for larger upgrades, but the energy savings could be worthwhile.
Low-cost updates you can make right away
Even if green products aren’t as easy on the wallet as other options you can often make up the difference in energy costs by examining operating expenses for potential savings. Electric and heating bills are often a major expenditure for small businesses, but there are some things you can do to reduce your company’s energy consumption and carbon footprint.
- Purchase a motion sensor or timer to turn the lights off when no one is in the office.
- Set your heat lower – around 68 degrees – in the winter and your A/C higher – at 76 degrees – in the summer. The cooler you can comfortably keep it in winter and the warmer in the summer, the more money you will save.
- Update light bulbs with LED (light-emitting diode) or CFL (compact fluorescent lights) bulbs as these are more energy efficient.
- Print on the back and front of paper and recycle scrap whenever possible.
- Enroll in online business banking to go paperless and make all your payments in one place with online bill pay.
- Give out mugs to discourage paper or Styrofoam cup use.
- Have an energy audit done to look for other areas you can improve.
Create a budget for green products in the office
Green products will help you leave a smaller carbon footprint and your customers will appreciate the effort you’re making. Since some of these products may cost more than you’re used to spending, you may need to start budgeting and saving until you’re ready to make these purchases. Take note of what you’re currently spending on paper and cleaning products and look to find equivalently priced green products.
Once you’re prepared, open a separate business checking account to handle your green office product purchases. This could include recycled paper products, kitchen supplies, reusable containers or cleaning products devoid of harsh chemicals. You may also want to keep a separate business credit card designated for office supply purchases. Whether all your purchases are eco-friendly or not, a business credit card designated for these expenses will help with accounting at the end of every month.
Make larger purchases with a business banking loan
Some eco-friendly purchases will save you money in the long run but require a larger investment upfront. Whether you’re remodeling a new space or just changing out appliances for something more energy efficient, you’ll be looking at more expensive products. If you’re considering any of the following purchases, you may want to use a small business loan or line of credit to finance your plans in the beginning.
- New copy, print and fax machines that are more energy efficient
- Low-flow toilets and aerators on faucets to save water
- Energy-efficient kitchen appliances like coffee makers, ice machines and dishwashers
- Air dryers in place of paper towels
- A new heating or cooling unit if you’re remodeling the entire space
- New insulation to improve heating and cooling costs
Designate a team to help with the upgrades
Chances are your employees will be as excited as you are to start going green. Ask for volunteers to start a sustainability committee to handle choosing and ordering the products your office will use. You can even supply them with debit cards that access the small business checking account you established. These volunteers can help rally your employees around good green practices like carpooling, saving water, conserving energy by turning off lights and more.