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Happy Earth Day! 5 Ways to Green Your Small Business

Friday, April 22 is Earth Day, marking the 46th anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement. What used to be a day celebrated by a few fervent environmental groups and activists is now a worldwide call to action embraced by individuals and major corporations alike. Good environmental stewardship benefits us all.

How can your business do its part? We’ll give you five business-centric ways to green your workspace and protect our planet at the same time.

1. LEED by Example

The U.S. Green Building Council says the average person spends 90% of his/her time indoors. That means the air we breathe and the light we’re exposed to should keep us healthy, happy and productive. You might think LEED only applies to building construction, but LEED for Interior Design and Construction (LEED ID+C) helps businesses that don’t have control over building construction or operations (office building tenants, for example) develop healthier and greener workplaces. Learn more.

2. Increase Your Efficiency

Your company can realize big returns on investment when you reduce your energy usage—not only in terms of cost savings, but also greater comfort for and productivity of the people who work for you. Look for office buildings that have an energy efficiency program in place. These programs often reduce tenant occupancy costs and provide a high-functioning workspace—a win-win. Energy efficiency programs often include energy-efficient roofing systems, LED lighting, and HVAC, as well as in-house expertise capable of monitoring and maintaining NYSERDA’s energy-efficiency standards. To learn how your office can make simple changes that add up to big savings, sign up for a free Smart Office Audit.

3. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

It’s an old—but relevant—reminder, and it means more than recycling paper in the bin next to the copy machine. Ask employees to bring reusable mugs and water bottles to the office and do away with the disposable ones. Ask employees to think before they print, and buy recycled-content products for your office (on average, they cost approximately 5% more, but help reduce waste and pollution. From recycled paper and refillable ink cartridges to cell phones and computers, almost everything in your office can be recycled for future reuse.

4. Buy second-hand office furniture

When shopping for furniture and furnishings for your office space, consider buying used or remanufactured furniture. You can find deals on used office furniture on eBay and Craigslist, and you can find like-new remanufactured furniture (often restored to the original equipment manufacturer’s specifications but at a fraction of the cost of new office furniture) through your local office furniture dealers and remanufacturers. A quick Google search in your area should lead you to a number of resources for both. You can also choose to donate your old office furniture to save it from the landfill. Check the donation rules and regulations for your local Salvation Army or Habitat for Humanity Re-Store to give your old furniture a second life.

5. Soak up the sun.

Green power takes many forms, including solar, wind, geothermal, and hydropower, but all come from renewable energy sources and not fossil fuels. If you’re looking for new office space, look for buildings that have invested in renewable energy. The savings, in terms of reduced electricity usage and heating and cooling costs, indirectly and positively impact your bottom line by offsetting a portion of the electricity your building owner purchases from the utility. In addition, when your business benefits from renewable energy, you’re telling your customers that clean, sustainable, cost-efficient energy is important to you—a powerful message in this day and age.


 

To learn how to make your office space more energy efficient and reduce your carbon footprint, contact Susan Touhey at 518-458-7726 or stouhey@tagny.com

 

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