For many businesses, 'going green' is really just a matter of ticking a few boxes. This probably means making sure that you are recycling, using the right light bulbs and not leaving the computers on when no one is around; and after that your business is green right?
Of course that's not all it takes to genuinely run a 'green business'. In fact there are hundreds of things that a business can do to make themselves greener and some of these involve significant investments and changes to the entire way they operate - though normally this will be an investment that pays for itself. No matter what kind of operation you are running there will be countless different ways you can save energy and increase efficiency, though the specifics will vary depending on the nature of your business.
Here we will look at some of the less 'obvious' and sometimes more specific ways your business may be able to increase efficiency and do its bit for the planet.
If your business uses wood or even just a lot of paper, then a great way to 'give back' is to plant trees each time you use a certain amount of those materials. A single tree can provide thousands of thousands of sheets of paper, so if it's only paper you're using ten you can actually give more back than you take away.
Of course though you don't have to use paper or wood in order to plant trees and this is something that any business can actually offer in order to reduce their carbon footprint and send a positive message. Likewise donating some of your profits to charity can also be a great way to do your bit and to make up for any pollution your business may be responsible for.
If you’re the operations crucial to your business involve cooling a process or fluid, then you might be able to benefit from heat exchangers. These are systems that keep the fluids separate but transfer energy between them and are a much more efficient solution. At the same time you should also make sure that your heat exchangers are well maintained at all times, as a crack or other form of damage can be dangerously costly.
Air Conditioning and Heating
While not every business will have a use for heat exchangers, most will spend a lot of money on heating and air conditioning and will use a lot of energy in the process. There are several ways that you can reduce this cost too - such as by investing in more efficient installations, and making sure that you keep them well maintained. Cleaning out air ducts for instance can make a big difference to the efficiency of your air conditioning, while you may just need to replace your filters. Of course investing in insulation for your building and double glazing can also help to save energy, just as it does around the home.
Many companies will look into using recyclable materials in their products and generally finding any way they can to produce their items and provide their services with a lower ecological cost. What they often forget though is to make the products themselves more energy efficient. Imagine if Microsoft or Sony found a way to make their games consoles more energy efficient - that would mean millions of people around the world would use slightly less energy every single day.
If you are in the catering industry then you may use coffee beans or other important consumables. Making sure that you know where these come from then and how they are obtained is very important and for your own sake as well as that of the planet you should make sure that the source is sustainable and that you're not bleeding the land dry.
If you don't work in the energy industry or provide a product and instead operate strictly B2B then you may think there's not much you need to do to make your business greener. Of course you'd be wrong though, and even if your business doesn't require any raw materials you are still likely to need to interact with other people which can mean travel costs.
If you have foreign clients and you often engage with them in business meetings, then this will cost a lot in terms of cash and energy. By investing in video conferencing equipment however you can get these costs down considerably and also save yourself a lot of time. By using webcams and telepresence systems you can conduct your business with anyone around the world without ever having to leave your office.
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Richard Crate provides crack detection service in Perth. An eco friendly guy, he comes up with new ways to make his office green and does his bit to keep the environment clean. An avid blogger, he makes use of his spare time effectively by writing about environmental issues.