The green movement has seen strong leadership in some big U.S. companies, but the most outspoken advocates of sustainable business have been our small business owners. Entrepreneurs spanning many different industries are finding ways to reduce, reuse and recycle their way to the forefront of green innovation. With help from government initiatives and private organizations, the small business sector has the potential to remove 182 billion tons of carbon emissions from the nation’s yearly economic footprint. To spark the flame of eco-inspiration, we’ve compiled 5 simple ways to greenify your self-storage small business.
1. Give up the gas-guzzler. Carpooling and public transit are great ways to offset your employees’ carbon footprint. In the U.S., the average worker devotes 47 hours every year to rush-hour commuting. Added up, that translates to 23 billion gallons of gas spent each year on crowded highways across the nation. Help clear the roads and the skies by piling into a Zipcar with your soon-to-be closest friends in the office.
2. Get a green roof. Many businesses are turning to an irrigation and insulation solution called “green building,” which is exactly what it sounds like. While the retrofitting can be expensive, topping off your building with a garden provides natural insulation and protection to reduce energy consumption and upkeep costs. It’ll also reduce your building’s heat island effect, putting oxygen back into the atmosphere and keeping temperatures down. Check out this useful guide to green roofing to learn where to start.
3. Go paperless. We’ve blogged extensively about the benefits of email and electronic communication over traditional paper forms and memos. Obviously, it’s working for this self-storage blog. The benefits are irrefutable: Email marketing service Mailchimp reports that by helping businesses switch from paper to online communication, they help conserve up to 2400 trees daily. And it’s not just good for the environment. Switching to electronic documents, emailing lease agreements, and sending announcements and newsletters to customers conserves considerable time and money that would be devoted to printing and filing paper documents.
4. Trim the font. For those who can’t give up traditional printing for important documents in favor of email and electronic communication, a unique service called Ecofont is saving businesses on their everyday ink and toner costs. By installing Ecofont software or a similar service, all typed letters are embedded with tiny, imperceptible holes, applicable to any font. Little by little, this software is shown to condense ink and toner use by up to 50%. For industries like self-storage, whose resources are often devoted to printing extensive leasing contracts and insurance forms, these savings can amount to a huge step in the green direction.
5. Get educated. Going green requires a familiarity with your business’s impact on the environment, so you know where to make eco-friendly but cost-effective improvements. The EnergyStar and EPA websites have extensive info on energy savings and recycling programs that businesses can use to get on the right track. DSireUSA provides an interactive U.S. map listing all the clean energy incentives in your state. Oracle’s sustainability software helps businesses explore greener solutions in every level of operation. For general news about the green movement in small business, check out the Green Biz Group’s blog and daily news updates.