There is a major drive in the United States by various organizations to ‘go green’. Cynics may argue that it is a case of shutting the door after the ozone layer has been ruined but research has shown that energy conservation by larger corporations does bear fruit. Small businesses would be forgiven for asking ‘what’s in it for me?’

After all, methods of being environmentally friendly and reducing their energy costs appear to be too expensive on the surface. The long-term gain is insufficient for the short-term investment for many small businesses who cannot afford the large expenditure it seemingly takes to ‘go green’. Understandably, the United States government are hoping to see small businesses start reducing energy costs because if the 29 million small organizations in the nation complied, the results would be significant.

Internal Changes
However, reducing energy costs does not have to be an arduous process. A number of simple changes in the office could make a huge difference. For example, you should replace regular light bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). It is estimated that CFLs last 10 times longer and use 75% less energy than their regular light bulb rival. Ensure that your motion detectors switch off automatically in areas of the office that are not commonly in use. Teach your staff the importance of energy efficiency and remind them to turn off lights and switch off computers etc. Another useful tip is to install skylights if possible and make use of the sun as a natural light source.

External Changes
It’s important to make full use of technology outside the office too. Instead of forcing all employees into work each morning, see if there is a way that productivity can be maintained or even increased by allowing a certain portion of employees to telecommute. Some companies use webcams and attached software to hold meetings via webcam instead of asking clients to drive, as well as use public transportion. Having less cars on the road automatically decreases emissions. Companies that pay their employees mileage costs could also save thousands of dollars per year.

Solar Energy
Asking small businesses to convert to solar power may be asking a bit too much financially but recent initiatives by the government have made it more cost effective for a business to add solar panels to their building if possible. There is now a 30% Federal tax rebate for those interested in adding solar panels. Also, states have various rebates that drastically reduces the cost of installing solar panels. Essentially, solar panels are now more affordable than ever before. Using a household as an example, an installation cost of $40,800 on a house using the standard amount of electricity per year with a state rebate of $4.50 per watt installed (available in Texas and Colorado) and the 30% Federal rebate will cost just $7,140 to install. It’s estimated that this system would save almost $1,000 a year against regular electricity costs over the next 20 years. Expect this saving to be greater for a small business which uses more electricity than a standard house.

It’s believed that small businesses in the United States spend more than $60 billion on energy each year. How would you like to greatly reduce this figure thus saving your organization thousands of dollars each year while aiding in the fight against emissions and pollution? Small businesses are urged to look into small-scale energy saving methods at the very least. Mother Earth and your bank balance will thank you for it.

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