Going Green in Downtown

by Ben White, Director 17. May 2013 07:56

As the desire to “Go Green” is ever-increasing, businesses are looking for more ways to cut back and get involved. There are many ways in which to reduce, some more specific to the type of business than others.  However, there are numerous ways to reduce the amount of energy used that are very simple and can be applied to almost any business. From packaging to paper towels, a few minor adjustments can make a substantial difference to our environment.

To begin, one of the easiest things a business can do is to reduce the amount of packaging to and from their business. Asking product manufacturers and wholesalers from whom products are bought to reduce excess packaging is an extremely eco-friendly start.  Once shipments arrive, business should recycle boxes and shipping materials. Lastly, a simple solution toward environmental-friendliness is to reduce the amount of packaging on a business’ own products, or simply offering a small discount to those customers who bring in their own bags.

Another simple way to reduce the amount of wasted resources is in bathrooms.  The use of occupancy sensors to activate light fixtures would drastically cut back utility costs. This idea can be applied to more areas than bathrooms, including storage rooms and other spaces vacant for long periods of time. The installation of high-efficiency toilets reduces the use of energy, as well as the amount of water used throughout the day. Lastly, replacing paper towels in employee restrooms with reusable cloth towels is a simple way for everyone to recycle.

A huge way in which to reduce wasted resources deals with a business’ choice of supplies. Purchasing recycled paper, Energy Star-rated equipment, and non-toxic cleaning supplies are simple alternatives. Using conference calls to minimize driving to meetings, and emails and websites in place of printed flyers or letters, resources can be spared. These simple steps can be a relief on both resources and employees as well.

Utilities are another place where energy can be radically reduced.  Putting storefront window display lights on timers, rather than leaving the lights on all night can save a tremendous amount of energy. Other ideas along these same lines include using a programmable thermostat, motion sensors to activate interior and exterior security lights, and power strips with on-off switches in which the power can be turned entirely off when the items plugged in are not in use. Replacing incandescent bulbs and exit signs with an LED alternative also makes for an easy reduction in the amount of electricity used.

One of the most popular ways in which to reduce resources is through transportation. Providing incentives to employees that commute to work, either by public transportation, carpooling, biking, or walking, is a simple way of reducing. Offering deliveries on foot or by bicycle within the Main Street district would cut back transportation pollutants. In turn, ensure that employees have a safe and secure place for storing their bikes throughout the workday.

Lastly, keeping business local is both environmentally and economically friendly. By buying as much of your merchandise, supplies, and services from local businesses not only cuts down on transportation and shipping costs, but it keeps the money circulating within the community as well. Finally, help customers reduce the amount of time driving by learning about products and services offered by other business in the same commercial district. When a customer asks where they can find an item your business doesn’t offer, direct them to another store in your district. These simple steps take little time but can have a dramatic impact on the community and the environment.

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