To go beyond recycling, having a green business takes ingenuity and a directed plan. The obvious benefit of making choices based on the environment is that your business makes a positive contribution to a large problem. More subtle and long-term benefits include saving money and the potential business growth that can come from recognition for your company's efforts to have a green business.
Evaluate your company's energy use with an energy audit. This involves an energy consulting company examining your current energy use and making recommendations for improvements. Improvements may include simple changes, such as switching to fluorescent lighting. The auditor may recommend larger upgrades, such as installing energy efficient windows and solar panels. Also, contact your utility company and inquire about options for using renewable energy through your standard energy service.
Buy Carbon Credits
Pay to offset your production of greenhouses gasses by buying carbon credits. This money goes to maintain forests and farmers who plant trees and sustain part of their property as grasslands. The more green plants there are, the more carbon that is removed from the air. Several organizations offer carbon credits such as The Nature Conservancy, CarbonFund.org, and some local utility companies.
Get Employees Involved
Give incentives to youremployees for making "green" choices. Reward employees who volunteer their time for environmental causes. Encourage employees to carpool, use public transportation, and ride their bikes to work. Also, offer work at home opportunities to employees to decrease driving and pollution.
Get LEED Certified
New and renovated buildings can be certified by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) as showing Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). LEED certification is given to buildings at different levels for taking various sustainable measures during construction or remodeling. These include using recycled and sustainable green building materials, green technology, employing water conservation tools such as low water use toilets, and landscaping with native plants.
Upgrade Your Computers and Servers
A network of computers and servers requires a lot of energy use. To reduce this energy use, and your energy costs, consider updating your computer network to use virtualization technology. There are two main types of virtualization technology that business can employ to save money and energy; server virtualization and desktop virtualization. With server virtualization technology, one server can do the job of what traditionally several servers would do. With desktop virtualization, your staff uses thin clients, rather than full size personal computers, which are small and use less energy. With this a single server stores all the data and software that every individual thin client user needs to work with.
Becoming part of the green movement as a business owner does not have to be expensive or time consuming. In the long run, a well planned out green plan will save you money and even improve your business overall. You can start by making small changes now while planning for improvements that are more substantial as your business grows. Even the small steps make a difference, both for the environment and your business's bottom line.