10 Feb 2014, 15:34
For a multitude of good reasons, businesses are becoming increasingly eager to green their operations and reap the benefits of a reduced carbon footprint. Yet, more often than not, half the battle is staying green and keeping on top of your environmental action plan. What can you do to make it stick? With this in mind, here are some ideas to help your business stay on track.
Avoid the crash diet scenario
Trying to become more eco friendly can be likened to the process of losing weight because most of it is down to habit and mindset. Although one involves retaining pounds and the other involves shedding them (see what I did there), both are long term goals that come into effect gradually.
When looking to get in shape it's tempting to immediately kick several habits at once. No cakes, chocolate, take aways, alcohol (or fun). You're setting yourself up for failure because this is not a sustainable diet. Who has the willpower to overcome four vices at once? Not many of us.
That's why, when setting environmental targets, it's easier to view the changes you make to get there as being permanent. This puts into perspective what is manageable and what, for the time being, is going to be a little more difficult. What actions can you take that will challenge the workplace, but are achievable AND can be maintained?
It's a cliché, but think outside of the box
Although there are plenty of conventional actions that can be taken to reduce your environmental impact, sometimes it takes a little creativity or competition to get staff on board.
Alternative ideas include Meat Free Mondays, supplying your staff with reusable branded thermal cups for their morning coffee, even a swear box (if that's the kind of office you work in) where money collected goes towards some fancy low energy gadget or a tree planting scheme.
Use your credentials as a marketing tool
You have two cleaning services that both carry out exactly the same procedures to limit their environmental impact. The only difference is that one cleaning service tells you about how green they are, whereas the other cleaning service shows you that they have third party environmental accreditation backing their green claims. If you're looking to work with environmentally aware businesses, it's a no brainer.
The ability to separate your business from the rest and rise above the ‘greenwash' makes accreditation worthwhile. If you implement certain environmental standards and wish to put it to good use, get third party accreditation to prove that you are the real deal. I can recommend the Green Achiever Scheme which provides a range of accreditation for businesses of all sizes and industries in the UK.
Get connected, and encourage others to do the same
There are plenty of networks for businesses interested in meeting other like-minded organisations. As well as being great for free marketing tools, information on grants and industry updates, many groups will offer extended advice on environmental matters. Take advantage of this and learn from others; how have other businesses in your sector overcome the barriers that so often delay progress on green issues?
If you are currently a member of a network and feel as though green opportunities are too few and far between, suggest that more is done. Never underestimate the PR benefits of championing environmental awareness.
Money, money, money
Often business are held back by a lack of finances when embarking upon reducing their environmental impact. To benefit from significant savings in the future, it makes business sense to invest in renewable technology and so grants and funding are available. I recommend signing up for a business grants newsletter which makes it easy to find funding opportunities to suit you. Although these things take time, and perhaps some blood, sweat and tears, it's definitely worth doing. If you don't apply, you'll never know!
Inspiration comes in all shapes and sizes
Green businesses are everywhere. It's easy to idolise large corporations when the media lavishes praise upon them for making progress with their flash sustainability programmes, yet what the media doesn't cover is how SME's are driving forward significant changes to the way they operate with significantly less resources at their disposal. It takes clever investment, commitment and great efficiency for a small business to offset their carbon and save money through being green. Surely that's where our inspiration should come from and if you like the look of their results, explore the feasibility of following in their footsteps.
This guest blog was written by Hannah Coles in partnership with the Green Achiever Scheme - an environmental accreditation service for UK businesses.
30 Jan 2014, 15:46
We're just weeks into the new year, but being green has not slipped off the agenda; the UK's Green Building Council recently urged construction firms and building managers to make energy efficiency a ‘national infrastructure priority', putting it at the top of the list with homeowners and commercial properties alike.
With many people trying to be more energy efficient and reduce their carbon footprint, it is no wonder that many businesses and companies are also trying to jump on the bandwagon and also go green. Here are some top tips to help your warehouse cut costs and become more energy efficient.
Warehouses are large buildings with lots of space, and it's vital that it needs to be adequately lit, however, ensuring that the whole space is sufficiently lit means that you will need a lot of lights. By switching from florescent lights to LED lights, you could save a lot of money by drastically decreasing your energy bill and, as they can last up to 50 times longer than traditional bulbs, there's a large potential for significant savings on outgoings for replacement bulbs. Not only can they save you money, they are also much more environmentally friendly being 100 per cent recyclable, having no mercury or tri-phosphor gases and reducing your CO2 emissions by up 60 per cent.
As LED lights give off very little heat, the need for air conditioning can be reduced, meaning your costs may again be cut - and just going even further to prove their efficiency, and that little to no energy is wasted.
You may not think that your warehouse doors have much to do with the energy efficiency, however there are a wide variety of ways in which they can contribute to your running costs and carbon footprint. With older warehouse doors being much more unreliable and extremely slow to open and close, it's not uncommon for them to be left open so they don't reduce productivity. However, this means that heat or cold air - depending on your type of warehouse and what it contains - is quickly released and your warm air heaters, air conditioners or cooling systems have to work even harder to keep the area at the optimum temperature.
High speed doors can reduce this waste of energy as the speed in which they open and close means that there is no impact on productivity and efficiency in the workplace, so they can stay closed until needed. More door providers are starting to stock and push these door types, such as UK-based Enerco, who provide high quality high speed doors for a range of different industries.
With the help of new and improved handling equipment, many warehouses are starting to understand the benefits of working vertically and building upwards rather than spreading out. Extending upwards and making use of high ceilings means that many business owners are managing to save more money than they would have previously on land prices.
This efficient use of space reduces the need for onsite expansion or the need to relocate to a potentially larger premises, both of which could drastically increase your running costs. Relocation could also potentially mean sacrificing a great location, increasing the distance delivery vehicles need to travel, with all of these leading to an increase in carbon footpring.
Now that you know how your warehouse could be more energy efficient and reduce your carbon footprint, you can start putting these practices in place, helping you as a business to be greener and in turn do your bit for the environment. This could also increase your customer standing as consumers like to be associated with businesses that are greener.
This article has been provided by Enerco
29 Jan 2014, 10:49
Whether it is messages coming out of the government, the media or your own social conscience, it is hard to avoid the pressure to make your business greener and more energy efficient. This is of course easier said than done, and although you know that you may well be wasting energy on a daily basis, knowing how to tackle the problem is an altogether different challenge.
However there actually a number of surprisingly simple steps you can take to bring those energy overheads down, saving money and doing your own little bit to save the planet as well. Read on as Factory Direct Flooring take you through their top four tips.
Don't worry, you don't have to go all Buffy the Vampire Slayer on employees wasting energy, but instead hunt the vampire appliances that are lurking in the corner of every room. An appliance can be considered a 'vampire' if it feeds on a small amount of power even when switched off or in stand-by mode.
Everything from TV sets, mobile phone chargers and wireless routers are examples of vampire appliances, and although they may not consume much individually, when added together they could be adding hundreds of pounds onto your energy bills.
Not sure which devices are vamps? A good trick is to feel them for warmth when they are supposedly off. If they are warm to the touch then they are consuming a small amount of energy, while if there is a light illuminated then that is another clear indicator.
Invest in office plants
I know what you're thinking, what have office plants got to do with saving energy? Well believe it or not, introducing office plants into your workplace can actually go a long way to reducing your reliance on air conditioning.
This is because plants are nature's humidifiers, releasing 90 per cent of their moisture into the air via a process known as transpiration. This increased humidity makes the air feel cooler, while further benefits include cleaner air and improved team morale.
Don't wait until the end of the day to clean
Most businesses employ cleaners to come in at the end of the day when everyone has left - however this means the lights and heating are left on for longer than they would be anyway. With this in mind, why not try and get the lion share of the cleaning done during the day so you don't have to use all of that extra energy?
If this isn't possible for one reason or another, ask that your cleaning team go one floor at a time, switching the lights on and off as they go to avoid everything being on at once. You should also prompt them to turn off any 'vampire' appliances that may have been left on by staff trying to get away from the office as quickly as possible.
You're standing on one of them
When we think about saving energy we always look to the windows, lighting or other electrical devices - but what about the floor you're standing on?
A poorly insulated floor can be just as much of a waste of energy as many other things, so it is worth investing in a company who know is going to deliver first class results.
What are your tips for saving energy in the workplace? Let us know in the comments section - the simpler the better.
This guest blog was written by John Rooney in partnership with Factory Direct Flooring - a leading online flooring retailer who specialise in engineered and solid wood flooring
28 Jan 2014, 16:17
As a business it is essential that you set an example for your employees and your customers to be more ‘green', particularly given the current ‘energy crisis' situation.
Helping the environment and being more energy efficient can not only help you to save money, but can also help you to attract a wider customer base, especially as many other businesses and consumers like to be associated with those who carry out ‘green' practices; it's vital positive publicity.
The great thing is that being more energy efficient and more environmentally friendly doesn't mean you need to have a huge overhaul and change everything in your company at a large expense; it just takes a few simple alterations which could benefit you in the long run.
Change Your Lights
Lighting is essential in any business, you and your employees need to be able to see what you are working on and there are many regulations for different industries in which, lighting needs to be kept at a certain brightness and regulation. By replacing your lighting from traditional bulbs to LED bulbs you could reduce your lighting bill by as much as 90 per cent.
As light contributes to around 40 per cent of your energy bill, you could be saving a substantial amount. Inui offer a wide range of LED bulbs and being 100 per cent recyclable, they are much better for the environment. LED lights can also help you to reduce your carbon emissions by up to 60 per cent.
Recycle Whatever You Can
Recycling is a fantastic way to do your bit for the environment, depending what industry you work in, you could recycle just about anything. Paper is one of the main materials to recycle, especially within the office. Cardboard boxes and other packaging materials are also great recyclable products, helping you to get rid of your waste in a much more proactive way.
It's also worth having relevant recycling bins, such as those for aluminium cans or biodegradable food waste, for employees to use - they're incredibly useful to have in our own homes, helping to reduce the amount we send to landfill, and tackling this on a larger scale in your business will have an even larger effect. Have a look at your company's waste and see what products could be recycled rather than thrown away.
Encouraging car sharing is a fantastic idea that could cut back on fuel costs for you and your staff, as well as reducing your carbon footprint as there are not so many vehicles traveling the same distance and emitting hazardous fumes. It is an innovative way to encourage team building and friendships within the workplace, which can mean productivity is much more improved.
Another great advantage is that if you have limited parking at your business, your staff will easily be able to park, and there will be fewer issues with employees having to park further away or causing safety risks by parking precariously on site.
Turn Off All Electricals
If you work in an office based environment ensure that at the end of the day all of your staff are aware that they need to turn off all of their electrical equipment properly to ensure that there is no energy wastage. There's also the risk of reducing the lifespans of electrical appliances due to unnecessary overuse, as well as a potential fire risk as well.
Lighting should be put on a detection sensor so that if certain areas of the building are not in use, the lights will turn off until the space is needed again. This is extremely helpful as many individuals can often forget to turn switches off, meaning you are paying unnecessary energy bills and causing avoidable damage to the environment.
Although none of these changes are extremely difficult to implement, they can make a huge difference to your business and to your contribution to the environment.
This post was written by Ekta Mair for Inui who specialise in high quality and affordable LED lights
27 Jan 2014, 14:25
Improving energy efficiency within your warehouse environment can bring a multitude of benefits to a company. Being able to boast green credentials can help improve your business's reputation, and could be just the thing to make you stand out a little from your competitors when it comes to attracting new customers. But perhaps the more immediate benefit has to be the financial implications. Saving energy ultimately saves you money, so it is something which all business should be striving for. The warehouse is a great place to start, as it's an area which, traditionally, uses a lot of energy - with lighting, heating, transport and packaging all taking place under one roof, and staff often working around the clock. Here are a few things to try to transform your warehouse into a greener working environment.
Give it the green light
Obviously your warehouse needs light. But there are a host of different ways to get that on the market, including natural light sources and extremely efficient bulbs. The simplest and most cost-effective way to reduce your lighting's energy consumption is to remove all of your older, inefficient light bulbs and replace them with LEDs (light emitting diodes). These can last up to ten times as long as traditional compact fluorescents.
If you want to take it a step further, look into installing skylights to make the most of the natural light. They may be a small initial outlay, but if you are able to reduce the amount of lights required at all times during the day, you're sure to make that money back.
Shut the door on heat loss
Are your warehouse doors looking past their best? Are they property insulated, or are you losing heat through the cracks as well as during opening and closing? Replacing the doors at entry points to your warehouse can make a vast difference to your energy consumption. There are doors available from companies such as Attenborough Industrial Doors which open and close at a rate of up to 1000mm per second, letting the minimum amount of heat escape when you need to enter the warehouse. They can be controlled by lever, remote or even motion sensor, making them extremely user friendly.
Stick to schedule
A schedule is key to ensuring that operations are running as smoothly and efficiently as possible. One thing that we would recommend paying particular attention to is your forklift trucks. Whilst they may never travel great distances, these trucks can build up quite a mileage over their lifetimes. Having a set schedule and sticking to it ensures that you know exactly what needs to go out when and helps you eliminate superfluous journeys. Also, try to encourage your drivers to switch the engine off whilst they are loading or unloading.
Waste not want not
Waste is one of the biggest problems for many business and needs to be tackled head-on if you really want to reduce your carbon footprint. You'll probably find that your warehouse produces a range of waste products, including packaging equipment, oils, chemicals and batteries. The easiest thing to do with these is to take them to a waste landfill, but it's not the most environmentally friendly option. Instead, your waste should be taken to separate recycling banks, or reused by your own company if possible to cut costs.
Keep it cosy
It's not just your door that can lose heat, but the rest of the building too. If your walls are poorly insulated, it could be costing you a fortune. Try upgrading to sprayed-foam insulation, which creates a sealed thermal layer, ensuring lower energy bills and more comfortable staff.
This blog was written by Attenborough Industrial Doors
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