Going Green Helps the Bottom Line

The Green Business Bureau helps SMBs benefit from eco-friendliness.

Going Green Helps the Bottom Line

Marcos J. Cordero, LEED AP, CEO and Co-founder of Green Business Bureau

Marcos J. Cordero, LEED AP, CEO and Co-founder of the Green Business Bureau (www.gbb.org) started the GBB with the vision of helping small business owners implement sustainability practices that result in business benefits, such as cost-savings, ROI and additional marketing opportunities. Cordero’s vision, along with GBB’s co-founders, has helped small business owners across the country benefit from implementing green practices. “Sustainability through eco-friendly initiatives is an achievable goal that all companies should possess,” says Cordero, a graduate of MIT and Harvard Business School.

Founded two-years ago, GBB has helped hundreds of small business owners realize the importance of green business certification. “While being eco-friendly is important,” says Cordero, “it’s all about sustainability. Getting the most from your investments, seeing increased return for your efforts, and perhaps most importantly, gaining recognition for your hard work.”

GBB’s nationally recognized third-party green business certification is offered for many industries and includes customizable green programs which are based on each business’ needs. GBB’s world-class online tracking tool allows members to track green efforts with the click of a mouse. GBB offers outstanding customer service for members and step-by-step guidance on the path to green. Businesses that become green certified by GBB gain access to a fully functional green certification seal for their websites which allow current and prospective clients to click and view all initiatives that the company has completed, length of time they’ve been GBB members and current level of certification. Most importantly, it brings a level of transparency to the meaning of “green.”

GBB offers three levels of recognition for green members: aware, gold and platinum. Each level requires the certified business to adhere to certain green guidelines, standards and procedures set forth by GBB’s industry experts.

According to Cordero, once those guidelines have been met, members who become certified almost always see positive changes, including increased employee morale, customer satisfaction and increased savings due to less waste, water, and energy consumption.

Going Green Helps the Bottom LineGBB’s unique online platform has garnered recognition across the nation. The company is a recognized provider for hospitality sites like Travelocity, AAA and Orbitz.

Recently, GBB launched a partnership with Intuit (the makers of QuickBooks, Quicken and Turbo Tax) to raise awareness on sustainability to 3.1 million small business owners. The Green Your Business blog offers advice for business owners across all industries and includes a wide array of green topics. By visiting the blog, business owners can ask questions about green topics and receive answers by GBB’s certified eco-consultants.

As Intuit’s exclusive sustainability content provider, GBB provides information that goes beyond the low hanging fruit like changing light bulbs. The blog provides industry-specific content that will help business owners save money, leverage green status in marketing efforts, and ultimately, grow small businesses across the country.

According to GBB’s industry experts, most small companies can save money just by implementing simple procedures in the office. Here are some tips to follow that can save small business owners up to $2500 per employee. The numbers illustrated below are based on 10 employees in an average office setting.

Energy Audit: It takes a lot of energy to run a business. In fact, energy and utilities costs comprise nearly one-third of commercial building operations expenses and the average US employee uses $568 in energy per year.

Scheduling a professional, commercial energy audit can uncover myriad opportunities for real cost savings measures for your business. Auditors perform on-site walkthroughs, examining everything from office equipment, processes and suppliers to survey consumption and find potential savings. Commercial energy audits are often available through your energy provider, or can be performed by private contractors. The average savings shown from a commercial energy audit is approximately 30 percent of the $568 in energy expended by the average US employee each year. Savings per employee: $170

Program Your HVAC: HVAC comprises the largest operating expense for an office. In fact, it’s estimated that 40 percent of energy usage in a commercial space is dedicated to HVAC. If utilities are included as part of your lease, you can rest assured that your landlord is passing this hefty expense on to you. The average US employee accounts for an annual HVAC expense of $278. By installing a programmable thermostat, we can expect to save 10 percent of our HVAC costs per year. Savings per employee: $27

Tweek the Heat: The average US employee accounts for approximately $278 in heating, cooling and ventilation (HVAC) costs each year. For each degree you raise the cooling thermostat setting, up to five percent of cooling costs can be saved. Setting the thermostat at 74 instead of 68 degrees will save 30 percent on cooling costs – or $41 per employee for the warmer half of the year. For each degree you reduce the heating thermostat setting, up to five percent of heating costs can be saved. Setting the thermostat at 68 instead of 72 degrees will save 20 percent on heating costs – or $25 per employee for the cooler half of the year. Savings per employee: $66

Rest Your Computer: A recent study by 1E and the Alliance to Save Energy showed that 50 percent of American workers leave their computers on at night, and that many people incorrectly believe that their screen savers are designed to save energy during their down time. You can set computers to enter system standby or hibernate after 30 minutes of inactivity, and set monitors to enter sleep mode after five to 20 minutes of inactivity, to cut energy usage by 70 percent. Savings per employee: $178

Turn It Off: Even when turned off, many pieces of office equipment continue to draw power. This “phantom draw” can account for 40 percent of the electricity used by these devices, and 10 percent of your office’s overall electricity bill. This waste can be avoided by unplugging the appliance or by installing and using a power strip to cut all power to the appliance – saving up to 40 percent of the US average $113 in electricity used by each employee for office equipment and computers. Savings per employee: $45

See the Light: Lighting accounts for 13 percent of energy expenditures in commercial buildings. The introduction of compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), which use 75 percent less energy and last 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs, gives businesses an opportunity to save significant amounts of money with very little effort. In fact, replacing 50, 60-watt incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient 15-watt compact fluorescent bulbs will result in an average annual savings of $1,250. Savings per employee: $125

Tap Into a Good Thing: The average cost of a pint of bottled water in the US is $1.23, and with eight pints per gallons that means each gallon costs up to $9.85. The average US employee drinks about a pint and a half of water a day (45 gallons in a year), or the equivalent of $443 in bottled water. Installing a water cooler can save your office money. A typical delivery service for five-gallon jugs of water cost on average $3.81 per jug, which means each employee drinks the equivalent of $34 of water a year. Saving per employee: $409

Switch to Ceramic: Sip that tap water sustainably! The average American office worker uses approximately 500 disposable cups every year at an average cost of $75 per 500 cups. Investing in reusable coffee mugs or tumblers results can save annually. Savings per employee: $75

Slow the Flow: The average US employee consumes about $34 in water over the course of a year. Installing flow rate controls (aerators) on faucets can reduce water waste by up to 40 percent. Savings per employee: $13

Take a Time Out: By reducing the amount of paper used, you reduce the administrative time required to print, manage, store, dispose and recycle it. Assuming that four hours a day are consumed by these tasks, at an administrative cost of $100 per day, you can save my simply cutting your paper usage in half. Savings per employee: $1,200

Reduce Your Use: Studies show that a well written and enforced paper reduction policy can cut paper consumption by up to 50 percent. Savings per employee: $166

Holey Savings: Use EcoFont for in-office documents. EcoFont is a printing process which inserts tiny holes in the letters of a given font, requiring less ink to print without affecting legibility. It can reduce ink or toner use by up to 25 percent. Using an average recycled cartridge price of $175, and assuming five cartridge changes a year, that results in an overall savings of $218. Savings per employee: $21 (Download EcoFont for free at www.ecofont.eu).

Going Green Helps the Bottom LineA Friendly Reminder: Insert “Please consider the environment” footer in your emails. The average American worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper each year at an average cost of $330 per employee per year. If this subtle reminder could save two pieces of paper each day, that would result in a 5 percent savings. Savings per employee: $16


Scratch That: Reusing scratch paper can have a significant impact on paper expense – up to 35 percent per year. Savings per employee: $116

Empty Your Drawers: With technologies changing on what seems like a weekly basis, businesses everywhere have a stash of outdated cell phones, pagers and other electronic devices. Because these items contain toxic metals like arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, copper and nickel, they are considered hazardous waste and can’t be disposed of in landfills. However, a growing industry is offering recycling and disposal services for unwanted electronics – and they pay you! Companies like CorporateRenew will take your old cell phones and send you a check in return, with the average office receiving $700. Savings per employee: $70

By implementing the above sustainable business measures, an office with an average of 10 employees can see a cost savings of $2,697 per year. This represents impactful cost savings that will carry beyond the current economic downturn. Additionally, creating a greener office will also mean a rejuvenated, engaged team of employees that are productive and efficient.

GBB is quickly becoming the fastest growing green certification organization. To find out more about saving money while going green, visit www.gbb.org.

URL: http://www.gbb.org/

BLOG: http://www.gbb.org/blog/



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