You’re probably tired of seeing sustainability ideas on the web, in magazines, and on TV. However, there are benefits to implementing eco-friendly systems into your company operations. Not only for maintaining a positive brand image and showing an appreciation for the planet. But you can also dramatically reduce the costs associated with running your business. It isn’t easy, but some of the best ways to increase sustainability efficiency include the following.
Install Efficient Water Management Systems
Water is one of the most overused and undervalued resources in the world. While most people in developed nations don’t give a second thought to water usage, there are less fortunate citizens in underdeveloped countries experiencing drought and dying from dehydration. Therefore, you must appreciate the value of water and take steps to reduce wastage. Efficient water management requires adequate safety and drainage systems with cast iron sewer covers and a well-maintained ecosystem designed for quick and efficient water control.
A Complete Revamp of Your Site’s Electrical Usage
With energy prices skyrocketing, millions of people worldwide, even in the UK and the USA, have to choose whether to eat or heat. You are in a fortunate position if you don’t have to at least consider reducing energy use in your home. Yet as a company, it would be insulting to the population to flagrantly misuse electricity. So, it might be an excellent start to audit your energy usage and check where you can cut back. For the most part, cutting energy at work is the same as at home. Switch suppliers, install LED lighting, and use efficient appliances.
Consider Cutting Energy with Solar Panels
There is a free and abundant energy source right above you every day. The sun provides masses of sustainable energy all day long. Of course, the amount of daytime dictates how much energy your solar panels can store. But even in relatively gray countries like Britain, you can still reap the benefits of solar energy. A common misconception is you need to be in a hot location. This isn’t true. All you need is daylight. With summer incoming, now is a great time to get a headstart on saving energy with solar panels. And there are government incentives to do so.
Sustainability Ideas Should Include Greywater
Further to reducing water waste at your company, greywater is a viable option that reduces waste dramatically and saves you a lot of money. Of course, there is an initial installation fee, but it will pay for itself within a year. Greywater recycling saves you up to 40% on your annual water bills. The system works by sending non-contaminated water to a cleaning and filtering system, then pumps water back into your facility for reuse. Greywater refers to water used for washing from basins and showers and not water from your office’s toilets.
Encourage Reusable Water Bottles in the Office
Single-use plastics are a scourge of the natural environment. Millions of animals, fish, and birds suffer from wasted plastic items like can rings, food containers, and fishing wire. We can all play our part in reducing plastics in the environment with reusable items. Additionally, you will save money for yourself and your employees. For instance, the average American spends $5 per week on branded water, which can be 2,000 times more expensive than tap water. And in most cases, branded water is re-filtered tap water, playing on an unsuspecting public’s fear of germs.
Educate Employees on How to Save Electricity
For almost every company, its largest expense is employees. While paying your employees a fair wage, you don’t want them to also cost you more by wasting energy. Unfortunately, electricity prices are currently out of control, meaning more costs you might have to pass to customers. Fortunately, you can reduce energy use with employee education and policies. For example, make it company policy to switch off computers and devices when they aren’t being used. Also, try not to use lighting if there is sunlight available of 800 to 1,100 lumens.
How to Increase Energy Efficiency in the Office
To reduce the costs of utilities in your office, you need to take actionable steps to improve efficiency. Energy efficiency does not mean simply cutting your energy use but using utilities only when necessary and to a sufficient amount. No more, no less:
- Replace out-of-date office equipment that uses more electricity.
- Install LED efficient lighting wherever it’s possible.
- Replace older kitchen appliances that aren’t as efficient.
- Install lighting motion sensors in rarely used rooms and bathrooms.
- Install low-flow plumbing in the bathrooms to reduce water use.
- Only communicate electronically rather than using printers and paper.
- Audit and identify problem areas that you can improve upon across the entire office.
- Replace power-hungry desktop PCs with low-power mobile devices and laptops.
You can see that all of the steps necessary to use energy more efficiently are very easy to implement. For the most part, your appliances and office equipment are the biggest culprits. Not all are made to efficiently use electricity, but newer models are much better.
Switch Your Energy Supplier to Renewables
You can promote a positive brand image and concern for the environment by switching to an energy supplier using renewables. Wind, solar, geothermal, biofuel, and hydroelectric power are prime examples of renewable energy sources. You can contribute significantly to environmental health by switching to renewable energy. However, from a business perspective, you can dramatically reduce the cost of utility usage. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency, 62% of available renewable energies are cheaper than the cleanest fossil fuels.
Use Natural Gas Instead of Electricity for Heating
If your business operates anywhere with a changing climate, you need to heat your office for most of the year. For example, the UK has drastically variable weather all year round. Even in summer, it’s not uncommon to experience cold days. But heating costs can become substantial, especially now the energy price caps are lifted. However, while most offices use electricity for heating, you can save significantly with natural gas heating. So while there will be an initial cost of setting up the office for natural gas, you will save more in the long run.
Consider Ceiling Fans Instead of HVAC for Cooling
Conversely, hotter climates require air conditioning to keep employees cool. But HVAC systems are notoriously expensive to run, maintain and operate. Additionally, HVAC systems become very inefficient over time. However, you can save a considerable amount of money using ceiling fans instead. Where HVAC runs at almost 4,000 watts when in operation, a ceiling fan uses no more than 60 watts on the highest settings. So, even with 10 ceiling fans running at full speed, you will use more than 75% less energy than hugely inefficient HVAC systems.
Remote Work Supplements Sustainability Ideas
Of course, one way to reduce costs of office operation is to have fewer people there. The past two years of a pandemic have taught us that running a business with minimal office staff is entirely possible. And non-physical interaction and communication. You can save money on all utility costs by offering remote work to your employees. When not at the office, your employees won’t use water, waste electricity, or need heating or cooling. Therefore, you could dedicate a smaller work area for employees that need to attend, cutting your costs based on employee exponent.
Keep the Air Flowing as Efficiently as Possible
Your office may be arranged in such a way that you need to use more energy. For example, couches and desks might be blocking the heat from radiators, vents, or heaters. And doors being left open will cause a draft. Any of these will require you to use more energy than you need to. Additionally, you put employees at risk of fire by placing items near sources of heating. Ensure nothing is blocking your heating systems. Make a company policy to keep doors closed to prevent heat from escaping. Try to maximize airflow for efficient results.
Switch to Partners with Similar Practices
Making efforts to reduce carbon emissions and increase energy efficiency lowers costs. And lower operating costs mean you can offer your customers a better deal. The same is true for other companies. Therefore, there is a practical benefit to partnering with businesses with a similar attitude since they can offer you the same. For instance, suppliers with sustainability in mind don’t need to offset increased costs to customers, i.e., your business. Of course, there’s a long road ahead, but a sustainable future benefits the economy as much as ecology.
Modern approaches and changing economies almost demand you reduce the costs of utilities at your business. Adopting sustainable practices can help with this. Some of the best practices include managing water waste and efficiency, swapping out appliances, and using efficient lighting. Switching to renewable energy where possible will also save money. But company-wide efforts also need to educate employees and reach out to partners with the same attitude.