5 ways taking your small business green can save you money

By Samantha Higgins

Taking a business green certainly seems to be a popular decision that a lot of small business owners are making lately. And there are many good reasons for that.

Business owners and startup entrepreneurs are recognizing how many benefits come from making their businesses environmentally-friendly. To start out, there are tax credits and overall cost reductions. But you also avoid damage to the environment and win the respect of customers.

In this article, we’ll look at how going green will save your business money and contribute to your business success.

-Tax credits

When you make tangible, proveable efforts to go green and save energy, you’ll be able to take advantage of US government tax credits. For example, the Business Energy Investment Tax Credit is allowed for businesses that adopt geothermal, wind or solar energy. This credit qualifies your business for a 30% rebate on your renewable energy costs.

Then there’s the Energy Efficient Commercial Buildings Tax Deduction. The maximum tax credit rebate your business can get from this deduction is $1.80 per square foot. To qualify, you’ll need to upgrade certain areas of your commercial building to required specs. These areas include:

-HVAC system

-Lighting

-Roof and siding

-Windows

-Seal leak points and Forge Coating

Not only will these steps help qualify you for the credit, but the upgrades will save energy costs every month.

-Lighting costs

This is by far one of the simplest, oldest and most environmentally-friendly changes you can make to your business. The reason is that it’s so effective.

LED lights are proven to use about 80% less overall energy than halogen or incandescent bulbs. While the LEDs cost a bit more when you purchase them, they quickly make up for the cost while in use.

They also last much longer than traditional bulbs, which saves on replacement costs and labor.

-Reusable and used Items

It’s pretty simple to locate high-quality used office furniture at half (or less) the cost of brand new furniture. This is a way of taking your business green and saving money immediately.

Locate business liquidation sales in your area as a great source of reuseable furniture and other items. Most of what you’ll find at these sales is in good condition and you’ll be able to purchase items for pennies on the dollar.

If possible, look for furniture that’s crafted out of renewable materials. Bamboo is a good example because it grows back so quickly.

-Telecommuting

Generally speaking, employees love the option of telecommuting. In fact, more than two-thirds of American workers want to work remotely more often.

Telecommuting is also a benefit to employers when taking their business green and looking to save money. When your workers telecommute, there is nobody in the office using energy. The lights aren’t on and the air conditioner doesn’t need to run.

Your employees also save time and money while lowering their carbon footprint. They won’t need to commute to and from work.

Even better, employee productivity won’t need to suffer because of how technology allows real-time collaboration and video calls.

By encouraging employees to telecommute for 50% of every workweek, your business can save tens of thousands of dollars per year.

-Employee health

Taking your business green can save money on your business healthcare costs. Healthier employees are also more productive and don’t take sick days.

To start a healthier, green office, begin by taking junk food out of your vending machines. If you occasionally bring in lunch for the staff, choose options that are healthy and nutritious. Get your company involved in run/walks in your community to promote health and your brand.

Another great option is planting more bushes and trees around your business property. These provide fresh, clean and breathable oxygen for your workers.

The EPA offers any sized business the chance to get involved with their Food Recovery Challenge. This is a way for you to promote positive, sustainable food management and cut down on waste.

Get a green audit

If you’re looking for more ways to save money by going green, consider getting a green audit. During the audit, a professional will come into your business, observe how your business operates and offer sound advice on specific steps you can take.

An audit can save your business thousands of dollars every year while helping improve the environment.

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Samantha Higgins is a professional writer with a passion for research, observation, and innovation. She is nurturing a growing family of twin boys in Portland, Oregon, with her husband. She loves kayaking and reading creative non-fiction.

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