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10 Best Green Business Tips

1. Set a company policy to shut off all lights, machinery, and equipment when not in use, particularly on nights and weekends. Much equipment is idle and unused for up to 90 percent of its life. Simple inexpensive timer devices can be used to accomplish this task easily.

2. Install low-cost energy monitors that can provide an accurate display of the cost and energy use of individual equipment. Research shows that this step alone can lead to energy savings of up to 40 percent. See, for example, www.powermeterstore.com.

3. Consider using energy-efficient power strips or surge protectors. The latest versions can be found with remote control shut-offs, main shut-offs that can power down peripheral equipment, and motion-detecting shut-offs.

4. Use fans in your business. Comfort is a function of temperature, humidity, and air movement. Thermostat settings of 3 to 5 degrees higher can feel as comfortable with fans.

5. Upgrade the energy efficiency of your older equipment. Modern equipment is much more energy efficient, often with less than half the energy use of older equipment. High-efficiency upgrades for motors and drives for equipment, air compressors, lighting, and other energy-consuming equipment generally have rapid payback periods, often less than one year.

6. Travel and transportation costs have been rising rapidly as fuel costs increase. Efficiency in transportation is often an effective way to lower your energy costs. If your business has company-owned cars or a fleet of vehicles, consider purchasing vehicles that are hybrid whenever possible. Check www.hybridcenter.org for the latest information on hybrid vehicles.

7. If your company ships products or is a truck or rail company that delivers these products, look into the EPA SmartWay Transport Partnership. This is an innovative collaboration between EPA and the freight industry to increase energy efficiency while significantly reducing greenhouse gases and air pollution. Hundreds of businesses are benefitting from this partnership. See www.epa.gov/smartway.

8. Computers and their peripherals consume a surprising amount of power. Consider using laptops as desktop computers. Laptops are far more energy efficient and can consume up to 80 percent less energy than equivalent desktops. Inkjet printers use 75 percent to 90 percent less energy than laser printers.

9. Turn your computers off when they are not needed. Enable power management modes on your computer. These features allow computers to go into lower-energy modes after a certain amount of time. Sleep modes can save up to 90 percent of the energy consumed.

10. Consider developing a comprehensive green business plan for your business that encompasses energy and water efficiency, waste reduction, transportation, computing and equipment efficiency, building design, and the design and actual operation of your business. Energy savings of 30 percent are easy and cost-effective to achieve and can reach up to 75 percent with a diligent effort.

These tips have been excerpted from "Greening Your Business: The Hands-On Guide to Creating a Successful and Sustainable Business", by Daniel Sitarz, published by EarthPress. This guide includes a CD with dozens of worksheets, spreadsheet programs, and additional information and is available for $29.95. Please see www.GreeningYourBusiness.org for additional information.

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