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Green Business Highlights

When you start to green your business operations, you are helping to reduce carbon emissions, preserve forests and biodiversity, and keep our air and water clean. And you also can help protect your bottom line because environmentally responsible businesses are efficient businesses. The simple tips listed below can help any business start going green.

TIPS FOR RECYCLING AND REDUCING WASTE

The average U.S. office worker goes through 10,000 sheets of copy paper a year.

Recycle bin full of plastic bottles and aluminum cans.

  • Identify recycling opportunities for, at a minimum, paper, aluminum cans and plastic bottles.
  • Educate employees about recycling and encourage recycling participation; reward employee efforts through incentives and/or recognition.
  • Investigate contracts with municipalities to collect and recycle high–grade office and corrugated paper.
  • Donate old or obsolete equipment computers, cell phones, televisions other electronics, www.greenerchoices.org/electronicsrecycling.
  • Implement paper-reducing strategies, such as double-sided printing, re-using paper, and using e-mail instead of sending memos or faxing.
  • Using a mug prevents 500 disposable cups, per person, from being thrown away each year.

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TIPS FOR CONSERVING ENERGY IN EXISTING BUILDINGS

Replacing standard incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs can save you as much as $40 a year in energy costs by changing out just one 60-watt incandescent with a 14-watt fluorescent lamp. CFL bulbs last up to 13 times longer.

compact flourescent light bulb

  • Conduct energy audits to determine current use and identify conservation opportunities, www.energystar.gov.
  • Purchase or replace obsolete equipment and appliances with those certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's ENERGY STAR® Program, www.energystar.gov.
  • Replace older fluorescent fixtures with newer, low-mercury CFLs.
  • Use programmable thermostats to ensure reductions during off hours. Keep thermostats at 78 degrees or higher in the summer; 72 degrees or lower in the winter.
  • Reduce hot, outdoor air from entering the building and eliminate the loss of cooled air with weather stripping and caulking around windows and doors.
  • Insulate your water heater's hot water piping, going to the wall or ceiling pipe; wrap tanks in an insulating blanket if the water heater's energy factor is less than 59 degrees.
  • Lower the thermostat on hot water heaters; 115 degrees is comfortable for most uses.
  • Turn off PCs, monitors, printers and copiers nightly and on weekends. If unable to switch off the entire computer, turn off the monitor and printer.
  • Turn computers, copiers and other office equipment to low-power standby mode when not in use.
  • Use laptop computers and ink jet printers, if available, since they use 90 percent less energy than desktop and laser printers.

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TIPS FOR GREEN CLEANING/PURCHASING

Americans generate 1.6 million tons of waste each year from common cleaning products that contain potentially hazardous ingredients.

Green Spray Bottle and Towel

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TIPS FOR CONSERVING WATER

One drop of water wasted per second wastes nearly 3,000 gallons per year.

silver water faucet

  • Detect and repair leaks in all systems (external and internal) and replace¬ faulty irrigation equipment.
  • Retrofit old high water-use toilets and other plumbing fixtures with new, high-efficiency toilets and other plumbing fixtures; install faucet aerators and high-efficiency shower heads.
  • Develop and use preventive maintenance plans that include regular inspections and the use of green chemicals to maintain clean, safe and efficient cooling or steam systems.
  • Wash company vehicles less often and use a commercial car wash that recycles water.
  • Use native plants in your landscape that require less water than ornamental varieties and follow other Xeriscape principles, www.floridayards.org.
  • Do not install or use ornamental water features unless they recycle the water. Use signs to indicate that water is recycled and do not operate during a drought.

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TIPS FOR TRANSPORTATION AND TRAVEL

Presently, full-time home business owners and telecommuters save approximately 4,439 million gallons of gas per year.

heavy traffic on multi-lane highway

  • For business travel, consider renting alternative fuel vehicles.
  • For company fleets, consider purchasing alternative fuel vehicles.
  • For company-owned vehicles, keep maintenance records and meet standards to reduce fuel consumption, i.e. regularly scheduled tune-ups, maintaining proper tire pressure and changing oil and filters.
  • Encourage and reward carpooling to the office, or biking and walking if the office is located nearby.
  • Choose meeting facilities with energy, water conservation, recycling and waste minimization programs. In Florida, DEP administers the Florida Green Lodging Program, a voluntary designation program, www.dep.state.fl.us/greenlodging.
  • Distribute meeting materials electronically.
  • Minimize travel distance for attendees by holding meetings via teleconference and videoconference.

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Programs

Last updated: December 30, 2009

  Florida Department of Environmental Protection, 3900 Commonwealth Boulevard M.S. 49   Tallahassee, Florida 32399  
850-245-2118 (phone) / 850-245-2159 (fax) 
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