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  • 9 Easy Ways to Save Money and the Planet

    business-764929_640For the penny-pinching entrepreneur, cutting down on overhead costs and long-term operational expenses can go a long way in maximizing profitability. This is especially helpful when launching a new startup business, as quick and significant income is often essential to the longevity of any business.

    Here are some easy ways to save some green and also go green by helping the environment.

    1. Install Energy Efficient Lighting

    Although today’s energy-efficient lighting options – which primarily consist of compact-fluorescent or light-emitting diode systems – have a higher price tag than traditional bulbs, studies have linked these appliances to tremendous cost savings in the long run. CFL bulbs cost $89.75 to run over the course of 50,000 hours, while traditional, incandescent bulbs cost $352.50 over that same time period.

    1. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

    The three Rs are relevant now more than ever, and there are a number of ways to implement strategies aimed at reducing waste, reusing office supplies when applicable and recycling on a consistent basis. For starters, make sure to spread awareness about the three Rs among your peers and teammates, especially those who work in your company’s building.

    You’ll also want to make sure recycling bins are accessible to your employees. By placing bins in strategic and highly visible locations, you’ll automatically attract the attention, interest and compliance of your employees. Furthermore, these receptacles will also serve as ever-present reminders of the three Rs, thereby promoting the ideas of sustainability and environmental protection even further.

    1. Take Advantage of Power-Saving Technology

    Power-saving technology, such as computers that automatically enter hibernation, monitors that turn themselves off and even lighting that dims or brightens according to the time of day, can result in greater energy efficiency and lower utility bills.

    Although many computer users are under the impression that a personalized screensaver can reduce energy consumption, this simply isn’t true. These programs, which were created as a way of mitigating the risk of screen burn-in on older monitors, serve no real value other than workstation customization at this point.

    1. Controllable Heating and Cooling

    Heating and cooling costs can wreak havoc on an otherwise efficient and affordable business model. Programmable thermostats, which can adjust your office’s temperature based on the open hours of your company, are an ideal solution for keeping such costs in check.

    However, simply lowering the temperature of your office by 1 degree than what you’re used to during the winter and raising it by 1 degree in the summer can go a long way in achieving the perfect balance between cost and comfort.

    1. Alternative Energy in the Office

    As interest in alternative forms of energy begins to increase across the globe, many entrepreneurs are starting to realize the value of solar, wind and even compressed air systems. The latter can actually reduce commercial utility bills by as much as 30 percent in some cases, which can result in significant savings for some.

    1. Green Architecture and Construction

    Next-gen construction technology has recently paved the way for huge breakthroughs in green architecture and design. Those who are launching their business within an established structure might find their options limited in this regard, but those who are eyeing brand new construction can do themselves – and the environment – a huge favor by taking advantage of some of the latest industry trends.

    1. Tap Into the Mobile or Remote Workforce

    Given the average consumer’s reliance on mobile technology, some innovative entrepreneurs have begun offering their employees the opportunity to work from home, or wherever else they have a solid internet connection, as much as possible. Not only does this provide your workers with increased flexibility, freedom and comfort, but the lack of daily travel can also have a substantial impact on your community’s carbon footprint.

    In many cases, the luxury of working from home simply isn’t feasible. However, this doesn’t mean you have to ignore mobile communications altogether. Utilizing the technology for meetings, interviews and companywide presentations can still work to counteract the growing problem of environmental pollution.

    1. Clean the Office With Biodegradable Products

    Biodegradable cleaning products have become quite commonplace among the tools of the average housekeeper or homeowner, but they can also be used around the office in order to reduce your business’s carbon footprint even further.

    When sourcing such materials, be sure to look for products that are a part of the EPA’s Design for the Environment program. Easily identified by the label, these cleaning solutions have been highly scrutinized by the EPA for their ingredients, byproducts and any chemical interactions.

    1. Pursue Tax Breaks, Credits and Incentives

    Although some new entrepreneurs might not realize it, contributing to the long-term preservation of our environment can actually result in numerous tax breaks and credits on both state and federal levels. Most of these incentives fall within the Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2010 or the Energy Policy Act of 2005, but others rebates and benefits may be available depending on your exact case.

    Bolstering Entrepreneurial Success While Safeguarding the Environment

    Contributing to the long-term protection of our environment doesn’t have to be a costly endeavor. When done wisely and strategically, such acts can actually bolster the success of your company as well as your reputation as a wholesome, ethical and caring business leader. Moreover, it can save money that would be better served in other areas of your operation.

    Sarah Landrum is a freelance writer and Digital Marketing Specialist. She is also the founder of Punched Clocks, a site dedicated to sharing advice on navigating the work world. Passionate about helping others find happiness and success in their careers, she shares advice on everything from the job search and entrepreneurship to professional development, and more! Follow her for more great tips @SarahLandrum

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