Thursday, 14 July 2011

10 environmentally friendly business tips

Every business is under pressure to reduce its carbon footprint to offset the steady increase of global warming. There is a common perception that environmentally friendly business practices will cost money. The truth is that a whole range of environmentally friendly measures will save you money as well as helping to preserve the world for future generations.

These ten environmentally friendly business tips should help to improve your bottom line.


Many offices and production environments are enclosed in buildings where there is little access to daylight. The result is that the lights are left burning all by themselves all day long. In some cases, the lights carry-on burn all night long as well as well as all day. There are a number of solutions to this that will not only help the business to become more environmentally friendly, but will save money.

The simplest solution is easy to implement with available technology. That is to install sensors to which the lighting system is connected. A very simple infra-red sensor will do the trick. When a person is detected in the area, the lights automatically switch on. The lights remain burning until the person leaves. Almost every office building is full of offices, meeting rooms and board rooms. This simple system ensures that lights are not left burning when the rooms are empty.

The same principle should apply to lobbies, stairways and parking areas. Lights are only necessary when there is someone there.

An investment like this will pay for itself within months, perhaps even weeks when the power savings make themselves felt.


Almost everyone has a computer on their desk in many offices. It is not unusual for the computers to remain on using full power even after the people have gone home. Huge savings can be achieved by enforcing a rule to shut down all workstation when leaving the office in the evening. In the case of a nine-to-five employee, the computer sits idle for 16 hours every week night and for 64 hours over the weekend. Very few computers need to be turned on all the time. Put an end to it.

Of the eight hours when the workstation is required, there are probably at least two hours every day that the computer is not being used. Change the settings on all workstations to go into sleep mode after five or ten minutes of standing idle.

In almost every business, Information Technology is one of the major consumers of electricity. Involve the IT department in a process of finding ways to implement green IT. A number of methods are already in use such as using virtual servers (sharing resources), using energy efficient equipment and so on.

Disposing of computer waste is a major problem in business today. Fortunately, most computer manufacturers are aware of this problem and have reduced the toxic content of the equipment supplied. Some research before purchasing new equipment should answer any questions that you have on disposal. A number of companies will pay you to remove and reprocess old computer equipment.

Transform the environment into a green building

This is generally only an option if you are considering re-vamping the premises or are buying or developing new premises. A green building is one that makes maximum use of day-light, natural heating and natural cooling. Much of the lighting, heating and cooling systems can be eliminated or at least reduced. Instead of the expensive to run boiler, consider solar heating to provide hot water.

Create smaller house -like environments

When the environment is more like a home, there are windows that open and close and natural ventilation. Not only is this healthier for your employees, it helps to create a more productive environment. Why should you need artificial lights when the sun comes streaming in?

Use energy efficient equipment

Wherever possible, replace appliances and lights that are big energy consumers. Look for the energy rating on your computer equipment and use the energy efficient lights. The higher capital cost will be repaid very quickly in energy savings.


Many staff travel to work and back every day in a single car. Provide incentives for employees to set-up lift clubs or similar schemes. The business will not benefit directly, but it could help to generate stronger relationships amongst the staff as well as helping the environment.

Encouraging work-from-home practices will help to reduce not only the environmental impact of the daily journey, but will help you save on office expenses including heating and lighting.

Replace air-conditioners with fresh air

Even when it is not possible to transform the entire business into a green environment, it may be possible to reduce the dependence on the air-conditioners to provide fresh air. There are times when air-conditioning is a life saver, but often the solution is simply to have windows that open!

Illuminate the individual work area rather than the entire office

How often do we see a huge office area capable of seating
100 or more people? Even when there is only one person in the area, the entire office has to be illuminated. Using a sensor system, it is possible to change that dramatically. The employee that is present at his of her workstation only needs the immediate surroundings to be illuminated. It is necessary to provide some soft lighting for the remainder of the office, but turn the lights on full only where it is needed, when it is needed.


Employees often print reports and documents that they fail to collect from the printer. When this happens, it is a sign that it wasn't necessary to print in the first place. Most printing uses only one side of the paper. A one hundred page document uses a hundred pieces of paper. Set the defaults for all printers to print double sided. Better still, encourage the printing of two pages on each side. That reduces the paper required for a hundred page document to twenty-five. The potential savings are massive.

Involve employees in the environmental changes

Employees are often simply the recipients of directives. Simply being on the receiving end of instructions to reduce energy waste will not result in a flood of cooperation. Treat the employees like adults and ask them to help provide solutions. The results could be amazing! This is what is required to encourage employees to adapt an environmentally friendly attitude not only at work but at home.

Being environmentally friendly does not necessarily involve more cost. In some cases there is an initial investment, but over-all it will actually save the business money - even in the short-term.

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