Small business owners are 30.2 million strong, employing nearly half of the entire workforce in the United States, and are in a unique position to change the world one decision at a time. As an entrepreneur, community leader, and employer, you can make changes at work that will have a positive impact on both your bottom line and the environment for many years to come. Here’s how you can get started.
Water Conservation at Work
Water conservation may not be the top of your priorities, but it should. Experts across the globe cite a potential shortage of fresh water as one of the most pressing concerns that must be addressed within the next half-century as the world’s population climbs to nearly 10 billion. You have many options to help lower your company’s water consumption. If you are in a business that utilizes water-related equipment, there may be alternatives. Even small changes, such as switching to low-flow toilets and faucets, can have a positive impact. For proven water savings, be sure to look for the WaterSense label when replacing toilets, showerheads, irrigation controllers, or washers.
Physical changes to your workspace may come at a significant price. However, they will typically pay for themselves over time in lowered utility bills. If you need equipment financing or money to cover new appliances, landscaping, or plumbing, small business financing in the form of a traditional term loan, a line of credit, or a credit card may be available. Do research to see which financial product is right for your business and offers the most favorable repayment terms.
A Sustainable Space
Business blogger Polly Michelle Cunanan recently wrote about the phenomenon of workspace sharing. This is simply the act of having a single office space or workshop that is used by multiple people in organizations. As a small business owner, you can work with other entrepreneurs to create an environmentally friendly work environment. This reduces waste, water consumption, and energy usage by having a single works area with no wasted space.
Getting There Together
A contributing factor to pollution is sitting in your driveway right now. If you and your staff drive to work individually, consider starting an office carpool. In addition to cutting out the volume of emissions produced by individuals at your company, carpooling reduces traffic congestion and can help you and your employees save money. Encourage your workers to ride together when possible — and offer a small reward for doing so. This could be something as simple as allowing everyone who carpools to leave 15 minutes early on a Friday afternoon.
Better yet, encourage those that live within a mile or two of the office to bike to work, which Momentum magazine explains saves even more energy and drastically cuts CO2 emissions. Keep in mind that the production of a single automobile takes up to nearly 22,000 gallons of water, and each gallon of gasoline is produced using 2.5 gallons of H2O. Cutting just one average-sized car from the street has an impact from the lakes to the sky.
Other Ways to Save
One of the most impactful changes you can make in the office is switching to a paper-free model. The advent of the internet has made it easier than ever to collaborate without waste. The best part is that many apps and programs that make it possible are free. Google Docs is just one example that’s used by businesses across the globe to increase efficiency and reduce their carbon footprint. HelpSystems’ Richard Schoen lists 10 reasons to go paperless.
If you run your business from a commercial property, you may also consider updating your building with energy-efficient office lighting. New types of bulbs make it possible to achieve exceptional brightness without taxing the energy grid. Energy Star is a great choice when purchasing light bulbs, electronics or appliances. These items are independently tested to perform better and more efficiently, providing savings month after month, even after your purchase.
Everything you do and every item you use to conduct business has an impact on the environment. By making small changes, such as carpooling and using less paper, you not only cut your overall water waste, but you can also save money and help preserve Mother Earth for the next generation of small business owners!
From time to time, Water – Use It Wisely features guest bloggers who write about topics related to water and water conservation. The author of this article, Neil Stawski, believes we aren’t doing enough to protect our planet. He created ClimateWise.co to educate the public and help people get smart about climate change.