6 Simple Ways to Green a Small Business

Photo: CFL
Image courtesy of p.Gordon on Flickr

By Nadine Long

Not all small businesses can get LEED certification or install alternative energy sources — which still cost a pretty penny — like solar panels. Luckily, there are still plenty of ways small business owners can lessen their environmental impact without breaking the bank.

In fact, a number of these changes will help businesses save money, not spend it.

Here are a few options for small businesses to consider if they’re interested in helping out Mother Nature, while doing better on the bottom line.

1. Timers.

If motion-sensor lighting is too big of an investment, timers are the next best thing. Set the lights to go off at a certain time of evening (after you’re sure employees are no longer on-site). You can even install timers for wall switches. That way, you don’t have to rely on employees to “close up” the office or store. (Get more tips in the book Green Lighting.)

2. Diagnose and fix energy leaks.

If you’re renting space, as most small business owners do, address the question of energy leaks with your landlord. Your energy bills might be much higher than they need to be because heated or cooled air is escaping through small leaks around windows or doors.

Fixing these leaks is as simple as some caulk and insulation. This Energy Star home improvement guide easily translates to fixing energy leaks at your place of business.

3. Switch out light bulbs.

Replacing old-style light bulbs with new, fluorescent bulbs will save you $20.00 in energy costs per bulb over three years.

4. Recycle or compost.

Some self storage facilities are among many businesses to implement recycling. If you’re a really small company and don’t have a vendor to pick up your recycling, ask for volunteers who would be willing to make a weekly trip to the nearest recycling center. Rotate the task between employees if possible.

5. Encourage your employees to use public transportation, or better yet, bike or walk to work.

Have employees keep track of the days they don’t drive to work, and hold a monthly raffle with prizes for employees who participated. Here’s some more information on encouraging reluctant workers to try public transportation.

6. Be conscious of your community.

If you can’t make an agreement to honor land preservation like this mini storage company, volunteer to participate in trash pickup and beautifying around your community. You’ll not only improve the neighborhood, your company will look better to nearby residents and other businesses, too.



1. Understanding Solar Energy
2. Energy-Efficient Metal Roofing
3. Energy-Efficient Homes
4. Energy-Efficient Light Bulb Facts
5. Energy-Saving Appliances