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Taking steps to reduce your organization's carbon footprint is an important way to contribute to the fight against global climate change and help protect the environment. And that's not to mention the fact that it can save you money, improving your bottom line.
Here at Metallix, for example, we have an onsite Environmental Health and Safety manger, who works to ensure that our metal refining processes remain in compliance with government regulations regarding environmental best practices. Furthermore, we work to curb our emissions of greenhouse gases through the development and use of advanced air pollution and air handling systems – both of which make a tangible difference and minimize our organization's impact on the environment. To learn more, click here.
If you're unsure of where to start when it comes to reducing your carbon footprint, read on. No matter the industry that your company operates in, there are a number of small, yet significant, steps that your organization can take to become greener. Here are some of the most effective:
1. Curb travel
Many companies, particularly larger organizations with multiple branches, require employees to travel for business. Frequent flying as well as driving long distances takes a toll on the environment. If travel is commonplace across your company, an effective way to make a difference is to seek strategies to reduce travel frequency, an article from the Queensland Government explained. Given that we live in the digital age, this has become easier than ever before – many important meetings can now be conducted with relative ease via video conferencing platforms. Take a look at your travel policy and implement new guidelines. If certain meetings can be conducted successfully without an in-person meeting, harness video or conference calling instead.
2. Replace light bulbs
The lighting across your office or industrial plant is a major source of electrical energy use. An effective way to reduce that energy utilization and keep costs low for your business is to make the switch from incandescent to fluorescent bulbs. The later uses much less energy – around a third less than incandescent bulbs – and they also last considerably longer, saving your operation money, Columbia University detailed. Even making a small adjustment in your personal office or the break room – places that are frequented the most – can make a positive difference.
3. Consider an energy audit
If your workspace is large, it can be difficult to ascertain exactly all the ways that your building is energy inefficient. As suggested by Reliable Plant, hiring professionals to conduct an energy audit can be an effective solution. Audits can help inform you of the places that need to be improved to run a more green operation – whether it's updating your HVAC system, installing new windows or sealing cracks.
"Make the switch from incandescent to fluorescent bulbs."
4. Inspect your HVAC unit
Heating and cooling units are major sources of energy use, and if they experience damage or any other problems, they can become inefficient and use a lot more energy than is necessary. That's why, as advised by Sustainable Business Toolkit, it is helpful to have the units inspected by professionals on a routine basis – ideally once a year, if not more frequently. It can be helpful, for example, to inspect the unit before you switch over the energy you will be using – in the fall before the cold weather hits and you need to switch to heat and again in the spring before you make the change to air conditioning. An inspection can help you identify problems which can save energy, not to mention money, in the long-run.
5. Utilize green cleaning products
As advised by journalist Kate Harrison, writing for Forbes, a great way to lower your company's environmental impact and protect the health of your employees simultaneously is to make the switch from conventional cleaning products, many of which contain harmful chemicals and toxins, to biodegradable cleaning products that harness natural ingredients.
6. Consider green energy resources
Consider meeting all of your energy needs with "green power." This approach can be a little more costly in the long-term, but if a goal of your company is to reduce its carbon footprint in a significant way, this could be an effective solution Harrison explained. This means contacting your provider to see if it is possible to get your workplace powered by a renewable energy source, as opposed to more conventional means. Examples of renewable resources used for green power include solar and wind energy. The availability of green power varies, contingent on your location in the country, so be sure to conduct some research to find out more.
7. Implement controls on electronics
It is possible to add timers and control systems to IT systems and HVAC systems to ensure that they run only at times when they are necessary, Sustainable Business Toolkit pointed out. The timers switch the energy using devices off at the weekends, in the evenings and during holidays. Computers that are switched on but still plugged in still use energy, so this is an effective investment to save money and energy in the long-term.
8. Recycle and then recycle some more
Recycling is a fundamental and basic way to reduce your carbon footprint. Ensure that your organization recycles everything renewable. You can take this even further by procuring environmentally friendly products for your office. This essentially means office supplies constructed of materials that were recycled.