You Don’t Need to be a Big Business to Make a Big Difference This Earth Day

As large-scale issues-- climate change, pollution, waste, and other environmental challenges may seem insurmountable. Even small businesses, however, can make a big impact. As an entrepreneur, there are several solutions you can consider to help forge a more sustainable future for yourself and the next generation. This Earth Day, April 22, the SBA encourages you to integrate some of these simple steps into your day-to-day operations. Doing so will ultimately save energy and money, as well as lower your carbon footprint.

  • Reconsider what you throw away: The next time you make a trip to the trash can, remember that cutting back on your waste carries implications that extend well beyond your business. For all the waste you send to the recycling center instead of the landfill, you drastically reduce your personal CO2 emissions. That goes for all materials, including packaging and office supplies.
  • Use your equipment responsibly: For small businesses that operate in an office setting, there are many easy measures you can adopt. Try turning off office equipment when it’s not in use. If your electronic devices aren’t being used for a prolonged period of time, consider utilizing a power-management feature to place them into a low-power “sleep” mode. You can also use advanced power strips that prevent energy from being drawn when it’s not necessary.
  • Light the way more efficiently: Looking for simple ways to lower your emissions and save on your electricity bills? Start with your lighting. First and foremost, turn off lights when they aren’t needed. Upgrade your lightbulbs to LEDs, which use about 75% less energy and last 25 times longer compared to incandescent lighting. For an even bigger impact, invest in smart building software that tampers down your electricity when it’s not needed.
  • Improve your business space: Buildings account for 39% of global energy related carbon emissions. As a business owner, you can address that in several ways. Block direct sunlight from shining through windows in the summer, while maximizing exposure during the winter. Seal windows and doors with weather-stripping or caulk to prevent air leaks, and install insulation to keep electricity bills down. If you’re seeking a more significant solution, consider switching to renewable energy like solar panels or installing dimmable windows that darken when the sun is brighter.

ENERGY STAR offers efficiency tips for specific types of small businesses. Additionally, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Center for Corporate Climate Leadership can help small businesses establish sensible targets. According to the EPA, making your business more energy-efficient can positively affect much more than the environment. Find more easy ways to save energy and money by checking out the Energy Department’s Energy Saver Guide or connecting with a local SBA resource partner.

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