Green Business Bureau Blog
Businesses that incorporate sustainability into their core values are doing more than being good stewards of the earth; they are helping protect their communities, saving money and attracting green consumers and motivated employees. Companies going green include Canon U.S.A., Anheuser-Busch, 3M, Caterpillar and Pfizer, according to the EPA. There’s a business value in building sustainability into operations that’s part of the triple bottom line—increasing your financial, social and environmental performance.
Businesses benefit from green operations and sustainability because nearly three-fourths of consumers consider a company’s environmental record as an important part of the buying decision, according to The Boston Consulting Group. Their study of approximately 9,000 people ages 18 to 65 in nine countries showed that consumers believe companies can have a greater impact with green initiatives than individuals, but still need to improve and increase their promotion of green offerings to make sure people know about them.
Effects on Employees
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) that includes going green is a big part of employee attraction, retention and engagement according to a 2012 study by Net Impact. More than half of workers surveyed said making an impact at work was important to their happiness, so much so that they’d take a pay cut to work for a company that makes a social or environmental impact, or an organization that supports their own values.
CSR boosts employee engagement by making them feel happy they are contributing to something meaningful. Communicating the opportunities and successes of environmentally friendly projects is good public relations but it’s also a good recruitment strategy that attracts top talent.
The EPA recommends engaging employees with green initiatives by asking for ideas on how to reduce the company’s environmental impact and encouraging their participation in building green practices. There are many areas to focus on including, but not limited to: air pollution, erosion, hazardous waste, energy use and resource use.
How Companies Are Going Green For Employees
Companies like Apple Rubber use green initiatives to commit to employee health and wellness. Stress management is a crucial skill employees should have, and by giving them the tools to do this in a green way, Apple Rubber is showing them they care. Their smoke-free wellness area is an outdoor gazebo made from sustainable materials and located in a beautiful, relaxing location to provide an oasis from work stress.
Georgetown University uses student-staff initiatives for its onsite renewable energy project, installing solar panels on university-owned row houses to generate the solar power that reduces thousands of pounds of carbon pollution.
Microsoft set a goal to substantially reduce its carbon emissions, and did so by investing in renewable energy and carbon reduction projects. The Microsoft Green blog, sustainability reports and information on its website are all vehicles in which the company shares its green practices with employees.
Dell, Inc. works hard to reduce its environmental impact with green power use and improved efficiencies such as building upgrades, power management strategies and its Planet employee resource group. For these initiatives Dell was a 2013 winner of the EPA’s Green Power Leadership Award.
When you’re powering your office and you use the local power grid, few business owners ask themselves what source the energy comes from and whether it’s good for the environment. There are however a great many ways one can save money and also be eco-friendly in the process. The following tips will give you a few ideas on how you can make it happen without too much hassle, finding new and alternate ways of handling things with greater self-sufficiency in mind:
- Switching to Green Energy
A great and logical solution would be to work on contacting the service provider or power company and to ask them about green energy options. Companies all around are moving toward the green energy model for a number of reasons, working with solar or wind power as either self-sufficient or supplementary power supplies. Prices may vary according to each company, but you will still have a great chance to become more self-sufficient even in times of crisis and power outages.
- Solar power
There are two ways of handling solar power – passive and active. Solar cells are what’s most often used to take advantage of the solar rays, whether by using them as a supplemental system for your local power grid or to store power in solar. Passive solar systems on the other hand will help heat up and light up your office through mirrors and smart positioning on your walls and roof with collectors. Check in with the city’s construction laws before you move on to this option.
- Wind Power
Depending on where your office building happens to be located and the local weather patterns, you can make great use of wind energy in your area. It works great in areas where winds are strong and steady, so you will need to consider this option and research its cost-to-efficiency ratio before you move on to this solution. The strong winds in some areas around the world can lead up to 80% of cost reductions for electricity, so this is a great way of improving things.
About Ella Andrews: Ella is writer and blogger who has great passion for home and office improvement projects. She is constantly searching for new technologies and methods for life and work optimization. What excites her most recently is the green idea and she is trying to raise the awareness towards it via her writing. Find more useful info at: http://www.springcleaners.org.uk/central-london
Businesses that maximize the energy efficiency of their facilities save money and help the environment. Energy Star, the Environmental Protection Agency’s energy efficiency program, reports that commercial buildings in the U.S. spend $107.9 billion annually on energy costs, and use energy unnecessarily or inefficiently 30 percent of the time. Energy Star estimates that reducing 10 percent of business energy would save $20 billion—the equivalent of emissions from almost 30 million vehicles.
There are plenty of easy ways to reduce business energy use for heating, air conditioning, and lighting and electricity—put these tips into practice and you’ll be on your way to becoming an environmentally friendly organization.
Heating and Air Conditioning
Paying close attention to the heating and air conditioning system in your office can help save energy and expenses. Keep equipment operating efficiently to save money and conserve energy. Use an annual maintenance contract that provides regular service to prepare for cooling and heating seasons, this will extend the life of the equipment, and prevent the need for emergency service calls.
Use these tips to keep HVAC use at top efficiency to save energy:
• Keep clean filters in HVAC equipment. This simple measure can improve indoor air quality and helps prevent clogging or overworking the equipment.
• Block direct heat gain with window shades, solar films, awnings, or strategically planted trees and shrubs. Sunlight coming in through large office windows concentrates the sun’s rays and heats the air, affecting the efficiency of air conditioning and interfering with balanced air temperature.
• Strategic use of indoor fans can delay the need to use air conditioning before it’s necessary, and fans help make the most of conditioned air when equipment is in use.
Lighting and Electricity
Computers, lights, alarm systems, some phone systems, office equipment, and production machinery all require electricity when in use. Businesses can maximize the efficiency and reduce energy use and expense by using Energy Star products with energy efficient designs and operation.
The EPA recommends managing office equipment energy use by powering down equipment at the end of the day, using power management features on computers, and plugging electrical cords into power strips to prevent energy drains, as well as turning off all lights and equipment at the end of the workday. The EPA estimates that using computer power management, where computers go into sleep mode when not in use, can save up to $50 per computer per year.
Consider using green power generated from renewable energy sources like solar and wind. Check the EPA’s Green Power Locator to see if green power is available in your area.
Office Depot’s recommendations to save energy and money on electricity include using compact fluorescent bulbs, and Energy Star qualified lights rather than incandescent bulbs. They last up to 10 times longer and save up to 75 percent on energy use. They also recommend using daylight rather than lights powered with electricity when possible.
Other Ways to Save
Save energy with a programmable thermostat that automatically regulates heating and air conditioning to cut costs when the business is closed. Prevent “temperature wars” by locking the thermostat, so only authorized staff have access and provide employees other ways to regulate the temperature in their areas, such as fans.
Raise awareness of energy use and engage employees in overall efforts to save energy and money. The Carbon Trust makes employee engagement easy with access to efficiency guides, savings advice, awareness campaign materials, and energy savings calculator.
Alison Lueders, owner of Platinum GBB member, Great Green Content, recently profiled the new book, “Building A Culture For Sustainability.” The book takes an in depth look at sustainability best practices from leading companies such as ALCOA and Wyndham Worldwide. It provides examples of eco-friendly initiatives such as sustainable sourcing and organizing green teams. Most importantly, the book stresses the value of creating a culture of sustainability by engaging people and incorporating sustainability into your company’s DNA.
To read Alison’s full recap check out her blog.
Christine Feldmann, founder and Direct of Operations of Platinum GBB member, Rio Designs, has over 15 years experience in design, planning, execution, control and monitoring of supply chain activities with the objective of creating net value, building a competitive infrastructure, leveraging worldwide logistics, synchronizing supply with demand and measuring performance globally. Her professional career reflects a continuous record of achievements characterized by a steady progression from the ground floor to executive ‘C’ – level management where she attained the position of Upper Management for national divisions of both private and public companies. Mrs. Feldmann also held leadership careers within well established corporations ranked in one of the top of New Jersey & New York Fortune 500 Companies in the USA. Regarded as an innovator and a leader in the implementation of World Class Manufacturing/
For more information please visit:
2012 Rio Design: http://2012riodesigns.com/
GBB member, FlexJobs, is the organizer of the 1 Million For Work Flexibility campaign, which touts the social, economic and environmental benefits of telecommuting and teleconferencing. In addition to promoting employee morale, GBB supports the 1MFWF campaign as a way to cut down our collective carbon footprint by reducing transport emissions. A recent post from the 1MFWF blog also highlights some of the hidden health costs of working in a traditional office, including indoor sickness and lack of exposure to sunlight. To learn more check out the full article on the 1MFWF blog.