Starting a business is no easy undertaking, as most entrepreneurs are no doubt aware. First you have to come up with a great idea for a business, followed by putting together a plan that convinces others that you have a good idea and that you can turn it into a successful venture. From there it’s just a matter of finding lenders or investors to give you the startup funds needed to launch your business so that you can follow through with your plans to get your company off the ground and earning a profit, possibly including leasing a building, hiring employees, and getting your products or services to the consumer public. No sweat, right? Of course, you might also have another agenda when it comes to your business startup; you may be interested in running a company that operates in an environmentally responsible manner, in which case sustainability is likely an important factor. If you’re planning to go this route, don’t think you have to reinvent the wheel. Plenty of entrepreneurs have been down this path before you and you can benefit from their wisdom.
Since most business startups don’t have a ton of money to spend on securing a lease at a LEED certified facility (much less build one to house their operations), they may find themselves operating out of a structure that is somewhat less than eco-friendly. But for the company looking to start out on a carbon-neutral foot, this is terribly undesirable. Luckily, there are several ways that a business can make the best of a bad situation and develop strategies that will not only cut consumption but also reduce utility bills in the process. For example, you could start by calling in the power company to conduct an energy audit on your office space to find areas where waste is occurring. From there it’s just a matter of informing the building owners so that necessary action can be taken. You might not be able to finagle solar panels or other alternative energy options out of property owners, but you might just be able to get them to make minor repairs that will ensure the bought air stays inside the building.
Another option is to implement your own conservation strategies. For example, you could try to find a building that has plenty of windows that let natural light in. If you create an open floor plan rather than putting in cubicles and walled offices that block light sources you can forego the use of electric illumination, at least during the daytime hours. Or you might spring for the installation of low-flow toilets and aerated or motion-sensor faucets in your facility (should the owners agree) as a way to conserve water on the premises.
And of course, there are steps you can take within your organization to cut pollution and waste, such as allowing employees to telecommute or encouraging them to carpool with a rewards program as a way to cut carbon emissions. Or you might go paperless. You may think that sustaining a business startup requires you to take advantage of free business banking, or that finding institutions where great value business loans are available is the key to keeping your company afloat. And while you’d certainly be correct on both scores, you might also be keen to tackle issues of environmental sustainability where your operations are concerned. In this case, there are tons of ways to cut consumption, waste, and pollution, even if you don’t own the building you operate out of. You just have to do some research, ask for advice, and get creative.