Whether you are first inquiring about green practices or already have established methods of RRR, if you are reading this you have taken the important first step to creating a healthy environmental and economic bottom line. With ever increasing consumer awareness about protecting the environment, discriminating consumers are choosing to spend their money with businesses that have shown a commitment to the environment. This is your chance to learn simple and easy ways to incorporate green ideals into daily operations.
Greening your business can appear daunting at first, however small actions easily turn into larger ones helping to make a difference in the state of our environment. Remember this when starting out: Keep it Simple! Though the ultimate goal is to be as green as possible, the first steps are often the hardest. The most important thing a business can do is create and foster and environmental ethic within their workplace. Encourage employees and management to use the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle motto in everyday operations. With this mentality companies can start to incorporate concrete measures to reduce their impact, reuse their resources, and recycle as much as possible.
In addition to helping the environment, green operating practices are generally savvy business practices. Though maybe more expensive at first, often green alternatives end up paying for themselves in a short period of time- saving business owners money.
For instance, businesses that have upgraded to more efficient lighting report an average savings of 30% in their lighting bill. Similarly, finding ways to reuse supplies and reduce offices consumption saves money on business expenses. By adopting green operations the environment and businesses can work hand in hand to create a healthy economic and environmental bottom line!
76% of all power-plant generated electricity is used just to operate buildings. Power production generates Carbon Dioxide (CO2) as a waste product. Carbon Dioxide is a greenhouse gas and one of the major contributors in the creation of global warming.
Typically in a business there are three big energy culprits; heating, water and lighting. Fortunately, there are some simple steps to lessen energy use which not only reduce the carbon footprint, but save businesses a good deal of money.
An Energy Audit consists of measuring the energy efficiency of your home or business and recommending cost-saving enhancements for more effective energy use. The cost of an energy audit will be refunded if you choose to implement any of the recommended changes OR if Lower Valley Energy finds that no improvements are needed. Call to schedule your audit now with one of Lower Valley’s energy specialists. Call 733-2446 for information. Lower Valley Energy offers a variety of innovative conservation programs which provide rebates and other incentives to businesses to encourage these types of energy efficient
improvements. Click Here to learn more.
Many local businesses operating in older buildings can retrofit their building to make them more energy efficient.
Green Power is energy produced by renewable sources, like wind and sun, which are replenished naturally. Renewable energy is a clean source of energy that has a much lower environmental impact than conventional energy technologies. By choosing Green Power, you can support development of renewable energy sources, which can reduce the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal, oil, and natural gas. Greater reliance on renewable sources also provides economic benefits and can improve our national energy security. Green Power is paid for by an extra monthly premium, which shows up on your bill in addition to regular monthly charges. As a commercial customer you can choose between 1,500 kWhs/$17.50 per month blocks (Partner Level) or 3,000 kWhs/$35.00 per month blocks (Champion Level). Click Here to learn more about Green Power.
Program your computers to shut down, hibernate or sleep during anticipated hours of non-use, and turn off monitors when not in use.
For weekdays it is best to “hibernate”- when you “hibernate” the computer will make a copy of what is in its memory and save it to the hard drive. When you begin work on your computer again it will quickly restore from and everything will resume as you left it.
Another good option to conserve energy when you computer is not in use is to put it into “Sleep” mode. This does not save as much energy as “hibernate” mode but it is a great energy saver.
“Shutdown” turns everything off and is ideal for the weekends. Screensavers are not an energy saving option, the computer and flat screen are still consuming power.
Make sure printers/ scanner are turned off when you leave work. An easy way to simplify and maximize on energy savings is to use power strips and plug al the gadgets into power strips. Turn off the power strips when you leave for the evenings.
How to adjust power mode?
Start>Control Panel> Power-Options>
When you are in “Power Options” you can create your “Power Plan” there are many opportunities to adjust your settings to fit
your businesses needs. (You can also make adjustment by going to Control Panel> Performance and Maintenance)
After completing a commercial lighting audit, Lower Valley Energy can determine energy savings and incentive dollars to help you convert to new more energy-efficient lights.
Install a programmable thermostat. This can save you a good deal of money. Program it so that it does not heat or cool the workplace more than necessary during the business hours and reduce heating and cooling during non-business hours. This “smart thermostat” can turn on the HVAC one hour before you arrive, based on your daily/ hourly needs. By installing these programmable thermostats, businesses can cut HVAC costs significantly.
Perform annual maintenance on your HVAC system. Even new ENERGY STAR certified systems will decline in performance without regular maintenance. A yearly “maintenance contract” can save even more than it costs. The contract automatically ensures that your HVAC contractor will provide pre-season tune-ups before each cooling and
Regularly change (or clean if reusable) the HVAC filters. During peak cooling and heating season, change or clean your filters every month. Dirty filters can decrease performance, overwork the equipment, and result in dirtier indoor air. Consider purchasing “electrostatic” filters, which are washable, long lasting, and provide cleaner air.
Use Fans. Comfort is a function of temperature, humidity, and air movement. Moving air can make a somewhat higher temperature and/or humidity feel comfortable. Fans can help delay or reduce the need for air-conditioning- a temperature setting of 3-5 degrees higher can feel as comfortable with fans. Each degree of higher temperature can save about 3% on cooling costs. Ceiling fans can even be reversed in the winter, on low speed they will pull warmer air down from the ceiling.
Providing office bikes for running errands around town is a great way to reduce your carbon emissions. Employees can pick up lunch, drop off items, or go to across town meetings all carbon free. Moreover, bikes are a very tangible and visual way to show the community your environmental commitment.
Everyone knows that carpooling is good for the environment, however they are notoriously hard to organize. Sponsoring a company carpool that is organized by the business creates a much higher success rate.
Encourage employees to work from home whenever possible. Working from home decreases the number of car trips made to and from the office.
Encourage employees to use the START Bus. Post schedules, offer bus passes, and do errands on the free town shuttle.
If your company is seriously interested in reducing their carbon emissions you can buy carbon offsets. Carbon offsets are programs that direct proceeds of your purchase towards projects like reforestation that reduce carbon emissions. Remember to fully research carbon offset programs before investing. Two respectable companies are www.TerraPass.com and www.Carbonfund.org.
When purchasing vehicles for business do research and choose the most fuel efficient option. Utilize alternative fuel operational vehicles.
Develop a purchasing policy which includes the following considerations:
Hosting an event or conference is no time to forget about being green. Instead of providing packets of paper handouts make all materials available on-line and have participants print only what they need. Also, find ways to cut miscellaneous waste. For instance, provide water pitchers with reusable cups instead of individual water bottles, have a buffet lunch instead of prepackaged ones, and reuse placards, lariats and other items. Incorporating green practices into events is also a great way to inspire and show others your environmental commitment.
Reuse single-sided office paper for memos, notes, drafts, and other paper needs. Place a box of used single-sided paper by copiers, printers, and desks to have readily available for reuse.
Save boxes and packaging materials to be reused for shipping and receiving needs. Try to avoid Styrofoam packing peanuts because they are non-biodegradable. Excess packing peanuts can be brought to the UPS Store for reuse. Shredded paper works great as packaging and is recyclable.
Every company has specific needs and creates a specific waste. Think about creative ways your company can reuse everyday items.
The most successful way to incorporate recycling into your daily operations is to require it in employees job descriptions. Though individual recycling motivated employees are a wonderful asset to a company, a written recycling policy establishes legitimacy and ensures success for the long term.
Education is an integral part of a successful recycling system. Place clear and simple signs outlining what is recyclable near your bins. Have an initial staff meeting to introduce the system to everyone and clear up any questions. Schedule a recycling workshop for a few weeks after the program is introduced to answer questions and iron out any wrinkles. Jackson Community Recycling provides one-on-one consultations to get businesses started with recycling as well as educational workshops. Continue with your recycling education year after year. Call JCR at 733-SORT.
Often businesses are overwhelmed when it comes to starting a recycling program. Remember to keep it simple and design a system that works for your organization. If fancy pre-marked bins don’t fit in your space, don’t use them. Those local businesses that have found success with recycling have created a system of several recycling stations starting with small receptacles and moving towards larger ones. If you are just starting with recycling make an easy transition and avoid overwhelming staff by just recycling your most used items and then slowly work other recyclables into the system. Don’t forget it is important to locate bins near trash cans and where recyclables are produced. Recycling bins are available on-line at www.recyclingbins.com or at local hardware stores.
Many companies have found that having an internal service, i.e. assigning an employee to do the job, is the easiest and most effective way to drop off recyclables. Remember, if choosing to do your recycling internally, JCR’s Adam’s Canyon Facility is the only location that accepts commercial recyclables. JCR’s community sites are reserved for residents and cannot handle the volume generated by businesses. Other companies use Jackson Curbside Recycling, a commercial pick up service, to collect their recyclables. Jackson Curbside collects all recyclables except cardboard. Curbside service is tailored to meet each business’ need. If businesses are apprehensive about starting to recycle, Curbside can create a program designed to grow with your needs. To inquire about service call Jackson Curbside Recycling 733-8559.
JCR shreds confidential documents for $.25 a pound. Call 733-SORT for more information.
With the vast amounts of shipping and receiving inherent in business, cardboard recycling is an easy way to incorporate recycling into your operations. It is much cheaper to recycle your cardboard than to throw it away. Jackson Community Recycling’s has various service option needs to fit your businesses needs. Call 733-SORT for info.
E-Waste, such as old computers,phones, faxes, and small appliances, is accepted Monday- Friday , 9am –5pm at Adams Canyon. Businesses are charged $.40 a pound and individuals are asked to pay as much as possible toward the cost of recycling.
Household hazardous wastes like old paint, antifreeze, and pesticides are accepted at JCR by appointment on the 1st and 3rd Tues.
of the month, April-November.
As of June 2007, Teton County Trash Transfer Station is requiring all recyclable construction materials to be sorted. The following materials should be sorted for recycling:
(Tubes and CFL’s) Jackson Community Recycling offers fluorescent light bulb recycling for $.60 a bulb. All fluorescent bulbs contain mercury and must be recycled so that this hazardous material does not end up in the landfill.
Businesses are welcome to drop off recyclables 24 hrs a day at Adams Canyon. Please reserve community sites for residential use. JCR recycles the following:
Most every kind of paper your business uses is recyclable in the office pack bin.
Acceptable: computer; copier; fax & pastel colored paper; receipts; envelopes; adding machine tape; manila/ bleached file folders;
business cards; glossy flyer’s; NCR forms; white bond; index cards; staples are okay
Not Acceptable: paper clips; fluorescent or deep-toned paper; sheets of self adhesive labels; sticky notes; construction paper; rubber bands; glue bound publications; tyvek envelopes; “gold” envelopes; ream wrap; photos; blueprints; plastic; paper cups or plates; napkins; paper towels; or boxes.
Recycled building supplies have come a long way from hay bales. If your organization is looking into to building a new facility, renovating, or retrofitting, green building supplies are an environmentally friendly and often economically savvy option. Green building supplies often have added health benefits for your employees by not releasing toxins into your workspace. Some examples of supplies you could incorporate into your building are:
These are just a few examples. Try greenbuildingsupplies.com for ideas. Locally call Living Green at 733-2152 for supplies and ideas.
One of the easiest things an organization can do to make a difference is to switch to 100% or high post-consumer percentage recycled paper. There is a common misconception that most paper is made of recycled materials, yet 90% of office paper is made from virgin trees. The average person in an office uses 12 pages of paper an hour!! Most paper suppliers have a recycled paper line, so ask your current supplier what is available. Always try to aim for the highest post consumer content. Locally Staples offers a reasonably priced 100% and 30% line. You can buy it by the ream, box, or think bigger and save money by buying your paper by
the pallet. Even if you have a small office, share a pallet with a neighboring office or buy a pallet to share with the entire office.
Businesses often think of buying recycled products but forget about the other half of the equation—non-recyclables.
Some common items to avoid:
For looking professional, choosing a green dry cleaner is a great option. Traditional dry cleaners use many highly toxic chemicals that are bad for the environment.
Whenever possible buy local. Not only does this stimulate the local economy but also helps cut down on the environmental costs of transportation.
Composting is a great way to reduce office food waste. For more information about how to compost and purchasing a composter contact Jackson Community Recycling- at 733-SORT.
Provide employees with a simple water filter like a Brita or faucet filter. Clean, good tasting drinking water is good for general employee health and encourages drinking from the faucet and not from disposable water bottles.
When hosting meetings conferences or company gatherings buying natural, organic and local foods help the overall quality of our environment.
Advertising is a huge part of any business. Be creative and try to advertise in ways that have little environmental impact. For instance, use a green printer like Greenerprinter.com for promotional materials. If using a traditional printer use vegetable or soy based inks and recycled-content paper. For company promotional products avoid miscellaneous items like pens, paper, stickers, pins, handouts, etc. Consider getting your name out there in non-material ways like local sponsorships, radio and tv ads. When investing in promotional products choose items that can be used year after year like reusable “Sale” signs or window paint instead of disposable signs.
When creating an investment portfolio, whether managing your businesses money or providing retirement options for your employees, consider adding a green investment option. With ever increasing environmental awareness the market has many savvy green investment opportunities like alternative energy firms and green builders. Inquire with your current money manager for options. Also check out www.greenmoneyjournal.com for ideas.
Switching to green or natural cleaning products is a great way to protect the environment and employee’s health. Natural cleaners are as effective yet less harmful than their chemical counter parts. Many natural products also come in bulk so you can reduce your packaging as well.
When asked for local donations or sponsorship consider giving to causes that have shown an environmental commitment, whether directly in their mission or in their general business practices. Joining an organization that donates a percentage of its profits is another great way to donate to environmental causes.