In a small business, every penny counts. It is also important to build a loyal customer base and make yourself appealing to a wide range of clients. Taking steps to make your small business green is a great way to combine these significant ideas. Most green initiatives save money, especially in the long run. By letting customers know you are going green, you make yourself seem more appealing. Here are four ways to get started.
Reuse paper Have you ever stopped to think about how much paper your office goes through on a daily basis? Printing proposals, posting office notices, copying memos for the entire staff: all of these things add up in a huge way. Most of these documents are never put to professional use. They are looked at and set aside or edited and thrown away to make way for a newer version. Instead of tossing paper in the trashcan, reuse it. Place a bin or storage container next to your printer so your employees have a specified place to return used paper. Then, teach your staff how to put paper in the printer so the blank side will be printed on. As long as the document is not going to clients, there’s on harm in having unrelated information on the backside. Making this an office policy could easily cut down on a third or more of your paper usage, saving you valuable money. When both sides have been used, simply recycle the paper.
Utilize daylight Using energy efficient light bulbs is the first step towards going green with your lighting. However, the best step is to have an actual schedule of when indoor lighting should be used. Natural sunlight is proven to lift moods and make people feel more alert. Because most small businesses are in smaller offices, this is a policy that can be utilized. Without cubicles and with employees, hopefully, closer to windows, sunlight can be the only light source for parts of the day. Decide what times your office receives the most outdoor light and keep the indoor lights off during those hours. Not only will you cut your energy costs, but you will also be lifting the moods of your employees when the blinds are raised.
Make an energy-efficient dress code The Department of Energy has specific thermostat recommendations for winter and summer. In the summer, your thermostat should be in 78° and higher at night; in the winter, your thermostat should be at 68° and lower at night. It may be hard to follow these guidelines, especially in an office setting where each person has a different temperature they find to be comfortable. That’s why a dress code is a great incentive. In the summer, try out a casual dress code. Allow polo shirts or sandals. In the winter, return to the formal dress code. Your employees will not feel a need to complain about temperatures if a jacket is part of normal dress. Don’t forget to change the thermostat setting at night. The DOE also says that you save 1% on your electric bill for each degree of change, as long as the thermostat is set lower or higher for at least 8 hours. If you adjust the thermostat every evening when employees are gone for the office, this adds up to a lot of savings.
Advertise your green initiative Because the green movement has gained so much popularity, there is a strong following amongst consumers. Make sure your customers or potential customers know you are trying to go green. You could advertise it in your store or use the casual summer dress as a great conversation starter with customers. If you are not the kind of business where customers come inside, send a notice to clients informing them of the green changes you’ve made and letting them know how happy the business is to be making these steps. Many customers would love to be asked for recommendations on things you can change in the office to further the initiative.
As someone on a tight budget, Terry Carter is always looking for new ways to go green. She writes about a number of things, including a Phoenix Bankruptcy Lawyer.