As global temperatures continue to increase, we must work together to reduce everyone’s carbon footprint — a measure of greenhouse gas emissions from an organization or an individual. Adjusting your business to operate in an eco-friendly manner is one of many ways you can reduce emissions and costs. There are a variety of solutions to help counteract the effect of carbon emissions. In order to combat this issue, you should first understand what needs fixing. By using the business carbon footprint calculator, you can first gauge the sustainability of your business and then implement these 10 strategies to create a greener business.
1. Use Renewable Energy
A major source of greenhouse gas emissions comes from burning fossil fuels for energy. Investing in renewable energy—such as solar and wind—is an easy answer to significantly reduce the carbon footprint of your business.A variety of federal, state and local incentives are available to help reduce the cost of renewable energy. To find information on incentives in your area, visit the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency.
2. Smart Lighting, Smart Working
Optimizing workplace lighting is another great and easy way to cut both your carbon footprint and your electricity bill. Focus on energy efficient lighting such as LED light bulbs and dimmable fixtures. Remember to switch off lights when they are not necessary or opt for automatic sensors to save the hassle. Take advantage of natural light as much as possible to save energy and avoid the negative health effects from excessive exposure to artificial lighting such as heightened stress levels.
3. Minimize Travel
Transportation—by ground or air—accounts for over a quarter of total greenhouse gas emissions annually. Review your company’s travel practices – replace unnecessary air travel with virtual meetings and online training sessions, coordinate carpooling between employees, and choose energy-efficient models when purchasing company vehicles.A simple answer to minimizing travel emissions is to eliminate fuel use wherever possible. This includes providing the option for employees to work remotely or promoting biking to work. For the business travel you can’t avoid, an investment in Carbon Offset Projects can help counteract the effects of large scale travel.
4. Maximize Energy Efficiency
It is easy to waste electricity in the office when you’re focused on getting work done. Take these precautions to maximize efficiency of energy consumption in your office space.
• Equip your office with energy efficient models of workplace equipment such as monitors, computers, and printers.
• Connect desk equipment into power strips to simplify switching off all technology at the end of the day.
• Familiarize yourself with your equipment’s manuals to maintain efficiency and prevent deterioration.
5. Reduce Waste
Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. We have all heard it before. Now is a good a time to put that saying into practice as decaying waste in crowded landfills releases greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Analyze your business procedures and pinpoint problem areas where waste production could be decreased.
Choose effectively packaged products to reduce plastic waste. Minimize printing by transitioning to digital records or place convenient bins to recycle paper waste. Ink cartridges can run out as fast as you put them in, so be sure to recycle all ink cartridges, especially when you are unable to cut back on printing documents.
6. Switch to Smart Shipping
If your company relies on the shipment of products, you might want to look for greener shipping methods. Avoid shipping by air as it has lower fuel efficiency than ground delivery. Reduce the number of shipments by maximizing capacity rather than shipping in several light loads that consume more fuel.
7. Surround Yourself with Sustainable Partners
You are not alone in this fight for a greener world. If you are a small business who cannot maximize every shipment, consider partnering with other local businesses to fill shipments together. Look for partners who actively use sustainable practices. When buying company resources, limit your shopping to local vendors. This method is called near-sourcing and reduces emissions caused by transporting resources to your door. Creating sustainable business relationships will not only help to hold each company accountable but will help reduce both of your carbon footprints in the long run.
8. Educate, Engage, and Encourage
A good business is built on teamwork. Make sure your employees are educated on the harmful effects of greenhouse gas emissions and how to reduce them. Provide motivating proof that efforts to minimize emissions have a positive impact on our environment. Connect each employee with their personal carbon footprint and engage with them in moving to a greener lifestyle. Encourage carbon footprint reduction with incentives such as monthly competitions.
9. Save Water
Aside from avoiding high water bills, a significant amount of energy is consumed to heat water and process wastewater. Easy methods to reduce water use include installing aerated faucets, lowering water heater temperatures, and actively repairing leaks. If your business requires large amounts of hot water, consider installing a heat recovery system to recycle energy from wastewater.
10. Use Smarter Temperature Systems
Careless thermostat habits can pile onto your carbon footprint in just a few months. Be sure to adjust the office temperature by a couple of degrees with the seasons. The thermostat should be adjusted by at most 15 degrees for long periods of time when people are not present such as overnight hours. Invest in insulation technology such as energy efficient windows and doors. Closely watching and maintaining your heating and cooling systems is one of the best strategies to significantly decrease your carbon footprint and reduce costs.
Through continuous investment in green solutions and projects to reduce carbon emissions, the goal of achieving a sustainable and economical society can become a reality.