Time to Startup!

The BizFilings blog covering business tips and trends.

Tips to Green Up Your Small Business for 2011

Published on Dec 2, 2010

Summary

Read 'Tips to Green Up Your Small Business for 2011' at 'Time to Start Up,' the small business blog by BizFilings.
Now more than ever, it makes sense to take special care of the planet we're on.green-business But what can you as a small business owner do to contribute to this effort on a shoestring budget? Fortunately, many green practices are just about using what we have more efficiently. Simply put, greater efficiencies translate into reduced costs and an improved bottom line. You may want to start with your "going green" efforts by taking baby steps heading into the New Year. Once these initial steps prove their economic value, you will be able to polish the process to suit your goals. To start with, you can aim to do a better job of conserving energy, conserving water resources and recycling waste. If your small business can accommodate one or all of these goals and actually save money in the process, the conditions may be ripe to think about a greener 2011. The easiest way to get started on a green diet for your business is by analyzing your energy consumption as a source for potential savings. Most small businesses consume more energy than necessary. Reducing your energy bill gives that double benefit you need, conserving not only natural resources but financial resources as well. U.S. businesses consume energy in a variety of forms: liquid fuels, natural gas, electricity, coal, renewable fuels (solar, wind and ethanol) and nuclear. For most small businesses, electricity tops the list. For others, it's gasoline. Energy costs of all types have been rising faster than most sectors of the economy. But there's good news: new and innovative means for using energy more efficiently and new sources of energy are being developed. The Energy Information Administration estimates that total expenditures on energy across all industries peaked in 2009 and are now coming down rapidly as renewable sources become more popular. Here are some other tips to to put into practice:
  • Turn off your lights. This can be done at any time of the day when you aren't using them for 15 minutes or more.
  • Replace the incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescents. A 25-watt compact fluorescent bulb produces about as much light as a 100-watt conventional bulb but uses only one-fourth of the electricity. And if you're thinking they are too expensive, you probably haven't checked lately. It used to take a year or more for compact fluorescents to pay for themselves. Now many pay for themselves in energy savings in the first month. After that, it's pure profit.
  • Keep blinds open. Reduce the need for artificial light in the winter by keeping the blinds open. Keep them closed on warm days to reduce the load on your cooling system.
  • Set your computer up for naps. Set your computer up to go to sleep automatically during breaks.
These are just simple steps but can indeed save you money. Put these ideas into practice, and then sit down with your power bills after a month or two to see whether it's been worth  the modest effort. What other tips would you provide to small business owners, entrepreneurs and individuals looking to start a business focused on green elements?