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green Going green is a great way to give your business a positive image in the eyes of homebuyers and reduce your impact on the planet. It’s not enough to recycle. The standards for being green have raised, and businesses are taking responsibility for their impact more and more. I would like to share with business owners the benefits of going green and how they can get a head start on making a difference. These tips will be especially helpful for small or medium sized companies.

Benefits of going green:

·      Reduced energy and operating costs. Energy and operations take up the most money in an organization. There are several options for reducing the amount of energy you use in the office, without making big, expensive changes. Conserving energy can be as simple as replacing old light bulbs with low-energy ones. Old equipment also takes up more energy. Upgrading the machines you use for operations can save you a considerable amount of money.

·      Tax credit. Now, more than ever, the government is recognizing and rewarding those who have decided to make their business greener. There are all kinds of tax credits and subsidies to help those moving towards making their business more eco-friendly. For example, the federal government offers an energy-efficient commercial buildings tax deduction. It doesn’t stop there though. Check out what your local government is doing to encourage green business practices at http://www.dsireusa.org/.

·      Market distinction and visibility. Your potential homebuyers are becoming more and more aware of the impacts companies have on the environment. They are actively seeking out companies that choose to participate in “green” practices. Not only will homebuyers seek you, but you will also be painted with rewards and recognition from organizations that promote green living.

·      A happier customer. Customers are always thrilled to hear that the company they are supporting is making ethical choices when it comes to the environment. This is something that you will be proud to share and use to your advantage to attract potential homebuyers.

How you can make your business greener:

·      Go paperless. Encourage your employees and co-workers to use e-mail as often as possible and if you do need to print something, make sure you print on both sides to reduce wasted paper. You can also print on old letterhead paper for scratch work or when the document is not of great importance.

·      Energy. A great way to find out how you can use your energy more efficiency is to have an energy audit by your local utilities company. They are offered by most local utilities businesses for free or very little cost to you. They will show you how you can improve insulation and reduce usage, all in an effort to save the environment and save you money.

·      Buy green. When making purchases for your business, it is most important to find the lowest cost, but what about the cost to the environment. Consider both price and the environment when making these purchases. I think you will be surprised at just how cost-effective it can be to buy green. Almost everything in your office has a “green” substitute. These items include paper, cups, ballpoint pens, office machines, cables, and even furniture. These products are recyclable, biodegradable, use fewer chemicals, and usually have third party certifications. Be sure to check with your local utilities company for rebates, loans and grants to smooth your transition into a more green business environment.

·      Transportation. Carpooling is a great way to save money and the environment at the same time. You can set up carpool groups in your office or encourage your employees or co-workers to research whether there is one offered through public transportation.

·      Involve your co-workers and employees. The best way to get support and help is to involve the people you work with. You can even create a small team that can focus on making your office a more eco-friendly place to work. Everyone will be happier and you will be making a big impact and saving money on energy and operations in long run.