Greening Your Business

Environmentally sensitive businesses are prosperous, sustainable businesses.   The majority of business leaders agree that green businesses are on the leading edge of solutions to the most critical environmental problems.   Says Lester Brown, director of the Earth Policy Institute, “Restructuring the global economy so that economic progress can be sustained represents the greatest investment opportunity in history.”

Greening your business is a long-term commitment that can positively impact your bottom line, whether you are a small mainstreet business or a manufacturing plant employing thousands of workers.  Greening begins by introducing and nurturing a culture of conservation and care that has both immediate payback and long-range effects, including better employee health, safety and morale, excellent customer and community relationships.

While going green will affect every aspect of your business, increased energy efficiency is one of the best opportunities to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, according to the EPA.   It is also  results in the most immediate return on investment.  See more in the Better Buildings Challenge below.

Here are a few ideas to get the ball rolling.

Lighting  and HVAC  — typically 40% of energy costs

Fact #1: According to the EPA, 30% of the energy used in a building is used inefficiently or unnecessarily.

Fact #2:  the energy used by a building to support a single office worker for a day causes more than twice the greenhouse gas emissions as the daily commute  http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=bygtw.showSplash 

Light equipment retrofit http://blog.epa.gov/energystar/2013/01/bright-idea-for-2013-energy-star-certified-lighting/

Motion sensors and dimmers reduce energy when the space is unoccupied

Energy saved by programmable thermostats for HVAC can pay back the investment in six months

Equipment Choices

Upgrade of older equipment with Energy Star products can pay back in less than a year.

Choice of more energy-efficient equipment, e.g. laptops over desktops, Inkjet over laser printers

For a complete list of Energy Star products: http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=products.pr_find_es_products

Equipment Use

Simple, but impactful behavior modification across the board: turning off equipment that is not being used.  The ‘sleep’ mode in computers saves 90% of the energy used.

Good goal for your IT Department:  Increasing computing capacity as well as decreasing in total energy consumption.   http://citizenibm.com/2012/02/world-community-grid-and-the-greening-of-information-technology.html

Waste

The three R’s — reuse, recycle, reduce — familiar to school children everywhere, also apply to the green, sustainable business.

The “paperless” office does not exist.  Computers, fax machines, and photocopiers mean that all businesses use a lot of paper.   Some of this filed, but much needs to be recycled.  A job for everyone.

A surprising number of typical business products — plastics, rechargeable batteries, many small electronic components — can be recycled.

Media, cell phones, computer peripherals  http://web.mit.edu/workinggreen/docs/What_Dos_and_Donts.pdf

Electronics recycling http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/conserve/materials/ecycling/index.htm

Read more about how and why greening your business makes sound economic and environmental sense: Top 21 Green Business Tips


The City regularly meets and collaborates with both seasoned and emerging green businesses to establish partnerships.  These partnerships contribute to the local economy and as well as our sustainability efforts.


Better Buildings Challenge

20% Reduction in Energy Use by 2020

Leading CEOs and executives of U.S. companies, universities, school districts and state and local government are taking the Challenge and committing to reduce the energy used across their building portfolios by 20 percent or more by 2020.   They will showcase the solutions they use and the results they achieve to help spur billions in new investment and savings in commercial buildings and industrial plants.


Green Restaurant Certification:

A Workshop was held in the Northwood Village neighborhood of West Palm Beach on August 18, 2010 with the goal of getting the restaurants in that area on board to create the nation’s first green restaurant row. View the full workshop at West Palm TV, to learn more about Green Restaurant certification. Or visit DineGreen.com.