Go Green From the Bottom Up

Many companies would like to be more environmentally responsible, but lack the motivation, time, or expertise to implement changes on their own. Whether you work in a large organization with thousands of employees or in a two-person office, you can persuade your managers to “buy in” to a green program with the right positioning. Here are some persuasive arguments you can make to get your organization to go green:
Show them savings — Everyone is motivated by saving money, so try mentioning that first. There are several tried-and-tested products that produce substantial, measurable savings. Becoming more efficient with green products or practices is just good business. For example:
  • Install high-efficiency toilets, which use 1.28 gallons per flush (GPF) or less. Some even use only 0.8 GPF, which will reduce water consumption by nearly 80% over old 3.5 GPF models.
  • Put in occupancy sensors that automatically turn off lights if they do not detect movement for a specific period of time. Sensors reduce manual error and can lower electrical costs by up to 50%. HD Supply even sells a PTAC sensor that will turn on the heating or cooling only when someone is in the room. These PTAC sensors are most useful for hotel rooms or conference rooms that are infrequently used.
Practices can save money, too — Help your company put in place a policy to replace burnt out bulbs with more efficient products. By doing the replacement piecemeal, when existing products burn out, you won’t be hit with a large one-time cost. Coining a phrase from a Green Blogic commenter, consider this “upgrading by attrition.”
  • Swapping out incandescent bulbs with low-energy LED light sources can have a real impact. LEDs can have an average life of up to 45,000 hours compared to only 2,000 hours with standard incandescent bulbs. This can mean energy savings of up to 75% annually per bulb as well as significant maintenance cost savings because the LEDs will not need to be replaced nearly as frequently.
  • You can also save by using reduced wattage T8 fluorescent bulbs, which provide more light output than T12 bulbs and over 20% less energy.
  • There are some even less expensive ways to lower utility bills. Show your company the savings in cooling your office a little less in the summer and heating a little less in the winter. Raising the temperature in the summer will decrease HVAC load. In fact, for every degree you raise your thermostat in the summer, you will consume 3% less electricity if your conditioned temperature is between 72 and 79 degrees F. Chances are your coworkers will not even notice if your office is 1 or 2 degrees warmer.
  • Consider implementing an office electronics upgrade program that recommends the purchase of ENERGY STAR®-qualified products. Many office-related electronics, like fax machines, printers, and computers, have ENERGY STAR® programs. ENERGY STAR®-qualified office equipment is up to 90% more efficient than non-qualified products. Also, help your company design a program that shuts off computers at night by turning off their associated power strips. This can be challenging to implement but can really reduce electricity consumption.
PR for your business — You can also use the possibility of positive PR to help encourage decisions makers to get on board with green initiatives. By purchasing efficient products and adopting sustainable practices, it shows your employees, residents, or guests that you support the green industry. More people are now embracing green practices and behavior at work, at home, and with those they choose to do business with. You can publicize successes of your upgrades to your customers, talk about your savings on sales calls, and write about your new green agenda in your annual report and in all promotional materials. Customers want to buy an environmentally friendly product, and they want to support businesses that are trying to make a difference.
 
Attract a new audience — Environmentally preferable practices can attract a whole new group of customers. It gives your current customers a reason to stick with you and potential new customers a reason to check you out. The cost of going green does not have to be high. In fact, and you may not have to change anything about your manufacturing or service to get new customers at a low cost. The idea here is to start marketing the green side of your products. This new approach is going to gain you wider attention and may help you get some free advertising, as well.
 
Have you started a green initiative at your property? What challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?
 
Learn more about sustainability and green initatives at www.greenblogic.com.