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ASK EARTHA: How to Make Your Business More Sustainable

 In Ask Eartha

Dear Eartha, I’ve been striving to live more sustainably over the past few years and want to make a better effort at my business. What tips do you have for someone trying to bring sustainability into the workplace?

While your efforts to live more sustainably at home are commendable, we’re very excited about your interest in environmental stewardship at work, as well. At the High Country Conservation Center, we work closely with over 160 Summit County businesses to reduce their environmental impact and save money. Through our Resource Wise sustainable business program, business owners gain a greater understanding of how their business uses energy and resources.

Beginning with a quick assessment of your business’s sustainability practices and energy efficiency, our experts gain a deeper understanding of the specifics of your business and the building it operates from. With this information, the staff delivers reports outlining potential improvement projects and various ideas to green your business. Additionally, through the funding we receive to operate this program, businesses have access to rebate incentives to help them pay for the various improvements we recommend.

Funded by our local municipalities, participation in the program is free for any Summit County business or religious organization.

When we assess a business’s performance with regard to environmental stewardship, we’re looking for conservation of water and energy, utilization of eco-friendly cleaning products, and reduction of material used in addition to recycling or composting correctly. In assessing these areas of an operation, we’re able to take a holistic approach to identify solutions that make the most sense for a business to implement.

As businesses complete recommendations, they’ll ascend the levels of our certification system, earning more community outreach and recognition for their efforts.

Anyone can take a walk around their place of work and take notes of some basic things they could improve upon to help save money and the environment:

  • Take note of the type of light bulbs you have installed. LED bulbs are the most efficient and can save up to 80% of the energy used by traditional lighting styles, such as fluorescent and incandescent. The price of LEDs is at an all-time low, making this investment one that will typically pay for itself in a couple of years.
  • Be sure to feel around for drafts and look for daylight around your windows and doors to identify where you could install new weather stripping or caulk some gaps. In our climate zone, air leaks account for roughly 40% of your overall energy costs.
  • Take a look at the paper you print and make copies on and see if you can start stocking post-consumer recycled content or pursue paperless options for your business.
  • Do the same with the cleaning supplies you have on hand and make a note to purchase more eco-friendly products moving forward.
  • Reach out if you want to learn how you can improve your recycling procedure. Sometimes, the best fix for a business is to simply update the signage.
  • To cut down on water use, we can provide your business with free water-efficiency products that are easily installed.

Be sure to ask the Summit County businesses you patronize most if they have joined the Resource Wise sustainable business program. If not, share with them why their environmental stewardship is important to you and ask them to call us at 970-668-5703.

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