How to save money and the planet at the same time

As the business sector increases globally, there is a need for more businesses to make environmentally friendly changes that would help sustain the environment. Initially, you may think that making such changes would cost your business money, however this article will outline ways in which large and small business have adapted their business operations to become more ‘green’ and in doing so have saved money.

The main factor contributing to global warming is the emission of greenhouse gasses from using natural resources. We use natural resources every day through lighting and heating the office, driving to meetings etc.

Global companies are constantly trying to reduce their environmental impact by implementing initiatives that encourage a reduction in the use of these natural resources. For example, Google have made it their priority to become more energy efficient using renewable energy. In doing so, they have recently purchased enough renewable energy to match 100% of their global electricity consumption for the second year in a row. They did this by investing in wind farms and rooftop solar installations.

Large companies can invest millions of pounds into new technologies to lower their impact on the environment whereas smaller companies do not have this kind of funding available. For medium and small businesses there are still many simple changes you can make that can make a significant difference in terms of the bigger environmental picture.

Energy efficiency tips:

  • Use LED bulbs (energy saving bulbs reduce energy consumption by up to 75% and last longer);
  • Lighting sensor system (especially when you have several rooms that are left unoccupied);
  • Turning off all electronics at the end of the day;
  • Reduce cold air entering the building by sealing up draughts and unused doors;
  • Make sure you turn down the thermostat before opening windows;
  • Use a thermostat and timer to heat up the office.

Other suggestions:

  • Reduce paper usage/go paperless;
  • Encourage and provide for the use of recycling;
  • Introduce a ‘cycle to work’ scheme;
  • Allow staff to work from home a couple of days a week;
  • Buy second hand office furniture.

The benefits of creating a greener business:

  • Enhances brand image;
  • Reduces running costs;
  • Boosts employee morale;
  • Taxation benefits (e.g. claim capital allowances on energy-efficient items);
  • You will appeal to the more environmentally conscious customer.

There is also a plethora of government grants available if you are keen to invest and research into new technologies. For example, the government currently run a rural development programme in England which provides funding for projects to improve agriculture, the environment and rural life.

If your business is involved in farming, managing land, a food business or the business is located in a rural area you can apply for funding providing you have a project that improves the environment, increases the productivity of your business activity and/or helps to grow the rural economy.

For more information on the aforementioned scheme, please visit the government website: https://www.gov.uk/topic/farming-food-grants-payments/rural-grants-payments

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