|How much money does your firm spend on gas and electricity? According to a study by Make it Cheaper, more than 1 in 5 business owners don’t know what they spend on utilities each month which is staggering as the same research found that 49% of businesses spend more than £1000 a month on energy, while 7% spend over £2000.
So could companies be missing opportunities to reduce their outgoings? After all, understanding exactly how much they are spending could make them appreciate what they might be wasting and be a strong motivator to become more energy-efficient. And this could be good for both their balance sheet and the environment.
But change can be difficult without the backing of your team, so you should get them involved from the start.
Conduct an energy audit
Everything from the lights and air conditioning to your computer hardware and white goods costs money to run. It therefore pays to ask whether they need to be turned on all the time and if more energy-efficient alternatives are available. It could help you identify easy and practical steps to take, such as turning the lights off in unoccupied rooms and ensuring unused equipment is turned off rather than left on standby. You can easily switch to energy-saving light bulbs straight away and you should plan to upgrade white goods (like the fridge or dishwasher in the staff kitchen) with more energy-efficient models as replacements are needed.
Consult staff on new green policies
Once you’ve identified what changes need to be made, detail and circulate your plans and check that everyone is happy to go ahead. By getting your whole team involved they’ll be less likely to feel that changes are being imposed on them and be more invested in what you are trying to do.
Reward staff for going green
Many basic green measures rely on buy-in from staff. For instance, it’s their responsibility to close the windows if you have the air conditioning switched on, and they should be turning off the lights if they’re leaving a room vacant. Incentivising staff whilst they’re getting used to the new ‘philosophy’ will take time and an incentive or two may help reinforce and remind everyone of their green commitments. And best of all, this doesn’t have to be expensive, just recognising staff with sweets or chocolates is likely to be popular! Alternatively, why not give them items they can reuse time and time again to minimise their environmental impact, such as shopping bags, water bottles or travel mugs? These small tokens of appreciation can be extremely motivating and could be paid for from utility bill savings.
According to the Make it Cheaper survey, nearly 1 in 3 business owners don’t take extra measures to make their office space eco-friendly. But as we’ve outlined just a few simple changes to behaviour can be enough to get your initiative underway. Making changes depends on the goodwill and support of your staff, and is the key to embedding an eco-friendly culture throughout your business.
Source / Further reading
Business owners still failing to make their office eco-friendly SmallBusiness
5 steps to making your business more eco-friendly Management Today