For many business owners, efforts to improve your profit margin can often marginalise any thoughts of green business practice. This is reflected across many business start-up forums, which are awash with tips to strengthen your profit margins, but give little mention to operating as a green business. But, who says the two need to be mutually exclusive? Eco conscious business owners will be pleased to hear that there are a number of ways that you can decrease your businesses carbon footprint and strengthen your profit margin at the same time.
Whether you have an established business with 250 staff, or a start-up business working from home, you can utilise these simple tips for a low cost way to improve your green business practices whilst enjoying a healthy profit margin.
Energy star products
When was the last time you invested in new equipment, such as a computer, for your business? According to recent studies, a typical office computer could cost your business up to £40 a year in running costs; which quickly adds up depending on the size of your workforce.
At first glance, replacing all of your equipment may seem like an expensive and drastic step, but you should first consider the potential savings an energy efficient computer can bring. In many cases it is possible for a business to cover the cost of new equipment with future savings.
For example, an energy star branded computer can use up to 75% less energy than a standard PC, which means you could reduce that £40 a year running cost by £30 a year. Of course, it is important to remember that every business will have unique energy needs, so you should carefully consider your potential business savings against any upfront costs.
One of the largest operating costs a small business will encounter is printing expenses. Printing is an expensive privilege that businesses have been enjoying for years, however, by harnessing digital workflows is you can quickly improve your profit margins with eco-friendly methods.
Unfortunately, altering a habit of a lifetime is the hardest part of this method. Though, we are starting to see a stigma develop around unnecessary printing, and with the rising popularity of tablet devices and laptops, printing is becoming less common in business. Mobile devices offer a useful substitute to desktop PCs by using considerably less energy and offering your business increased flexibility. So with many software packages and computers are capable of engaging in a digital workflow, the real challenge lies in breaking our habit of printing.
Reorganise to maximise natural light
The practical benefits of maximising natural light may not be immediately clear, but studies have found that not only will this help you reduce your heating and lighting bill, but it can also increase the productivity of your workforce.
Maximising the natural light in an existing office is going to require some de-cluttering and reorganising. The aim is to create a neutral, relaxing and spacious working environment to promote workforce concentration.
You should use foliage to help create a peaceful atmosphere and use blinds to direct the natural light around to avoid spots of glare. If you want to go a step further, consider relocating your business to a south facing office in order to truly maximise the suns power for light during the summer and heat during the winter.
However, even the minor changes to your office can make a big difference to both the environment and your business savings.
Turn off devices
Turning of your devices may seem like a glaringly obvious step, but it is a habit that must be adopted by your entire workforce to maximise your savings. Fortunately there are a number of devices available that can help you adopt new habits with relatively little effort.
Smart plugs with infrared sensors are being adopted by many businesses to monitor offices for activity and regulate energy usage depending on whether an area is occupied or not. However, it is important that you set smart plugs up properly if they are being used for a business to prevent work loss if the computer is shut down without saving.
Providing you set your smart plug up correctly your business could be saving up to 10% off their energy bills every year; and best of all, the automation means all the hard work is done for you.
Video conferencing’s rising popularity makes it one of the most essential steps when you’re looking to save your business money. Most modern businesses have video conferencing capabilities which make it possible to hold long distance meetings without even leaving the office.
For the relatively low cost of a webcam and a microphone you could virtually eradicate the need to travel for business, which will save both money and the environment. There are huge savings to be had by cutting out the cost of commuting for meetings.
However, it is important to remember that there could be a number of reasons that your business is paying too much for energy. Before attempting any of these steps, you should first visit any energy broker like Make It Cheaper to see if you’re on the right energy tariff for your business needs.
James McAllister, the author of this article, is a writer and energy saving enthusiast for Make It Cheaper. When he is not writing he enjoys finding unique and interesting ways to save our environment. Make sure you follow his daily ramblings on Twitter @JaMacca01.
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