Households across the UK have already become accustomed to living more sustainably. Steps taken involve purchasing food from local shops, recycling waste on a weekly basis and lowering energy usage where practically possible. In contrast, a number of small businesses will insist that computers remain powered on, everything must be printed rather than sent electronically and heating must be on at max during the autumn and winter months.

Most businesses have taken the initiative to change their habits, however, this can be adopted by all small companies in the country. It only takes a few small changes and very little effort to becoming environmentally sustainable. For SMEs, one of the biggest changes that can be made is by switching to a renewable energy deal. Business energy comparison sites such as Utility Saving Expert have simplified the whole process, making it easier than ever to compare and switch commercial gas and electricity providers.

It shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes to obtain a free no obligation quote and deals can be filtered by price, tariff type and contract length. You’ll be able to save money and the planet at the same time. Here’s some tips on how your office can further reduce costs and have a positive effect on the environment around us.

Calculate your businesses carbon footprint

To begin, you’ll need to measure your office’s current carbon footprint. An energy audit conducted by a consultant can help you carry this out. Alternatively, you can use a range of online carbon footprint calculators, but be aware that these aren’t going to provide you with entirely accurate data.

Upgrade the office

You could invest a small amount to upgrade your office. Start by replacing inefficient energy bulbs with modern LED alternatives. These will consume less power and last much longer, meaning you won’t have to spend money to replace them as often. If you do have a larger office, any upgrades you do carry out will have a much bigger impact, meaning more energy and money will be able to be saved. Insulation is another area to target, consider getting double glazed windows and insulated walls to retain heat.

We also advise asking an engineer to take a look at your boiler, to ensure it is performing optimally. Certain electrical appliances have higher energy star ratings, consider purchasing these to lower power consumption.

Recycle, recycle, recycle

Most items can now be recycled. This includes food waste, plastics, paper, glass and metal. Many companies even offer to recycle old electronic devices that are no longer needed. It doesn’t cost your small business anything, and it means that parts can be reused rather than going to waste. Remember to securely format any devices that have sensitive data stored on them before giving them to an e-recycling company.

Make sure recycling bins are readily available
Employees will find it a lot easier to correctly dispose of waste if the right recycling bin is readily available and labelled clearly. This can make it easier to recycle paper, plastic or food waste in the appropriate way. These bins must be visible and easy to access, don’t hide them away.

Reduce paper waste

Think before printing the next email or document. Do you or anyone else really need a paper copy? Or would it be better to just send it electronically. Encourage employees to reduce printing where possible. We understand that it’s not always possible to go completely paperless, but cutting back where you can will certainly help. You’ll be saving money on expensive ink cartridges and toners too. Use scrap paper if you need to jot down a few notes that will later be discarded and print double sided if you can.

Shut down

Ask employees to turn off computers and other electrical equipment before leaving the office. This includes switching off lights that are not in use. If you’re able to, consider installing sensors that can automatically dim or turn off lights in areas that are not being occupied. Power saving modes on electronics are great, but shutting down where possible is better.

Encourage staff

Encouraging staff and educating them about these new policies will help get everyone on board. By making employees understand why you’re doing all this as well as the environmental benefits will increase their enthusiasm for this activity. While not always possible in smaller businesses, larger companies may wish to implement a reward system for teams that manage to reduce waste.

Lower your office temperature

Did you know that by reducing your office temperature by even one or two degrees can have a significant impact on your energy bills? If you haven’t already had a smart thermostat fitted, get this installed as soon as possible too. This will help you better control the room temperature.

In conclusion, small businesses can take a number of steps to reduce their carbon footprint, some of which we have highlighted above. Being proactive and encouraging others will have a profound effect in achieving collective sustainability.