Friday, May 31, 2013

Going Green & Saving Money

Small businesses can take small steps and reap large benefits for both the environment and finances. Simple practices can reduce energy costs, while also attracting more business. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 73% of consumers think a company’s environmental record is important. Areas of focus for energy savings include waste, energy use, paper and water use.

Waste: 
  1. Did you know that you could make money from recycling in San Diego? Click the link at the end of this article to see the full blog post written by former Accion client Recycle San Diego, in San Diego Magazine. Some key points are included below. Note that you may need to pay to recycle certain items, including appliances that contain CFCs, tires and electronics, which California law bans from the trash.
  2. If your business uses beverage containers, it can mean potential extra money in your pocket. Recycle aluminum, plastic, glass and steel beverage containers.
  3. The city pays scrap value for certain metals, cardboard and newspaper. You can call the Miramar Recycling Center ahead of time to find out which types of recyclables the city pays for and how much money your scrap materials are worth. 
  4. Choose suppliers who take back packaging for reuse. 
  5. Make “green thinking” part of every day. Encourage employees to share ideas for saving energy and reducing waste. Create a pleasant kitchen environment, including dishes and utensils, that encourages employees to bring lunch to work. 
  6. Search for products and services in the local community. Choose earth-friendly cleaning supplies, typically made in a more concentrated format, saving on both packaging and transportation costs. 
  7. Get creative. Purchase used furniture and make it your own. Before discarding office furniture, consider refurbishing it, which might be less expensive.

Energy:
  1. Natural daylight is a no-cost source of lighting. Consider opening up your floor plan and getting rid of blinds. 
  2. Turn off equipment when it’s not in use. Program computers to “go to sleep” after a period of inactivity and unplug power strips nightly to halt phantom power drain. These changes can reduce your energy consumption by 25%. Turning off computers at the end of the workday can save even more.
  3. Use programmable thermostats and timers. Increase insulation around windows and in walls. Install CFL or LED light bulbs in place of incandescent light bulbs for long-lasting energy savings.
Paper:
  1. Encourage communication by email and printing only when necessary. Request that vendors bill you electronically and provide the same for customers whenever possible. 
  2. Reduce fax-related paper waste. Eliminate fax cover sheets and, when possible, send documents directly from your computer. 
  3. Print double-sided documents. Use paper with maximum available recycled content. 
Water:
  1. Check that water faucets don’t drip. (One drop wasted per second wastes 10,000 liters per year.)
  2. Outfit restrooms with low-flow toilets and aerated or motion-sensor faucets.

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