Three Ways Sustainability can Reduce Your Business’ Energy Expenses
Did you know that the fastest way for a company of any size to reduce its expenses is to decrease its energy use? And that energy savings also make businesses more likely to be eligible for government incentives? Energy reductions don’t have to cost much for a business to implement, and there's little risk involved.
Interested? Here are three ways organizations can achieve significant energy reductions.
Green Buildings and LEED Certification According to the U.S. Green Building Council, buildings in the U.S. are one of the heaviest consumers of natural resources – accounting for 73% of electricity consumption and 38% of all CO2 emissions. These numbers make LEED certification very attractive for many companies. LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices. Building projects satisfy prerequisites to achieve different levels of LEED certification. Green buildings consume far less energy. Compared to the average commercial building, LEED Gold buildings in the General Services Administration’s portfolio generally:
Consume 25% less energy
Consume 11% less water
Have 19% lower maintenance costs
Have 27% higher occupant satisfaction
Produce 34% lower greenhouse gas emissions
Encourage Employees to be Energy-Conscious An organization's people can make a critical difference in cost reduction through energy-saving actions. In his ebook, The New Sustainability Advantage, Bob Willard sates: “Encouraging employees, especially the purchasing department, to use systems thinking helps them see how long-term operational costs are much more significant than one-time purchase prices for things like transformers, wire, and motors.” For example, it’s more energy efficient and cost effective for a business to spend more on efficient transformers and then save money on energy in the long term. According to Willard, “Purchasing cheap, inefficient distribution transformers wastes $1 billion in electricity per year in the United States.”
Another action that every employee can take is simply turning off lights, computers, monitors and printers when not in use. Office lights that have been left on overnight can consume enough energy in one year’s time to heat a home for almost five months.
Especially for wholesale, retail, manufacturing and construction companies, reducing the amounts of materials (including raw materials, finished goods, packaging, etc.) offers significant savings
opportunities. Examples of saving money on materials include:
Creating products using reduced amounts of material
Using less expensive and greener materials
Recycling materials for use in making products
Product take-back programs that reuse materials from consumer-returned products
From small and simple changes to large investments, any business or organization can take energy-saving actions. Reducing your business’ energy use will improve your bottom line, positively effect the environment, and earn a more favorable reputation form your employees and customers.