According to the U.S. Department of Energy, commercial office buildings consume 35% of electricity in the United States, and generate 826 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions—for a total of 16% of all carbon dioxide emissions in the US.
Needless to say, business decarbonization would be a crucial step in helping us achieve net-zero emissions standards while meeting the goals set by national governments to address the climate crisis. By investing in energy-efficient technology, renewable energy sources, and green practices, businesses and business owners can reduce their emissions while also saving money on energy costs.
While the idea may seem overwhelming or complex, it’s not. De-carbonizing businesses really comes down to taking small steps to achieve specific goals that can create environmental, societal, and financial sustainability. Below are three simple steps that businesses and business owners can take to start creating a sustainable business that benefits the business, its employees, and the earth.
1. Invest in Heat Pumps
Did you know? A major source of greenhouse gas emissions comes from burning fossil fuels for energy. Heat pumps offer an eco-friendly and energy-efficient alternative to fossil fuel-burning heating systems. Heat pumps work by moving air from one place to another and don’t use traditional methods of burning fossil fuels like coal, oil, or gas.
In the wintertime, heat pumps take the available warmth from the outside air and pump it inside to heat homes, office buildings, commercial buildings, and more. In the summertime, the process is reversed and the heat that’s inside is pumped out. Because heat pumps don’t require combustion, this is also a much safer method and means that employees won’t be exposed to byproducts like carbon monoxide or other airborne pollutants. Additionally, heat pumps are more cost effective than traditional furnaces in the long run because they don’t consume as much energy.
2. Switch to Smart Lighting
Another great way for businesses to reduce their carbon footprint while also saving money is by switching to smart lighting. Smart lighting can be used to retrofit existing buildings or installed with new construction. It works by using motion sensors to detect when someone enters a room and turns the lights on, thus reducing unnecessary energy use. These lights are often more energy efficient than traditional light sources, meaning your business will save money on electricity bills over time. Finally, many of these lights come with advanced features such as dimming capabilities and automated scheduling so you can fully customize your lighting needs.
3. Educate Employees
In addition to any physical changes made, business owners can further their sustainability efforts by providing applicable training about sustainability initiatives for their employees, on both a local and federal level. This helps create a culture of environmental consciousness amongst staff members and encourages everyone to do their part in reducing emissions by making small changes such as reusing materials, reducing food waste, recycling, carpooling, and much more. Businesses can also benefit from participating in community initiatives to reduce their carbon footprint and ultimately make an even greater positive impact on the environment.
A Little Effort Goes a Long Way
The bottom line is this: businesses are a crucial component if we want to succeed in our efforts to reduce the world’s carbon footprint. It’s important to recognize that the simple steps outlined above can help create sustainability that benefits not only the environment but companies as well. Bringing sustainability to businesses helps foster employee wellness, increases productivity, and creates a healthier work environment. Additionally, companies that act as environmental stewards can benefit from increased customer loyalty, a larger market share, added cost savings, and even tax breaks and other financial incentives.
By taking these small steps towards a greener future, businesses can have a big impact on fighting climate change. It’s good for business, it’s good for employees, and it’s good for the planet.