Commercial facilities are tough to run and manage. Among the many challenges, businesses these days have to consider the long-term impact of climate change. An unsustainable facility is not ideal for business anymore, as it contributes to global waste and carbon emissions that drive climate change.
This is where sustainability in businesses is helping improve matters. While new commercial facilities are being designed (from the ground up) to be highly-sustainable, older facilities are implementing changes and upgrades that help lower their carbon emissions and footprint as well.
Today, we will discuss how you can make your commercial facility more sustainable, with our simple guide:
1. Set ‘Green’ Targets
As with any good plan, you must first start by setting goals or targets. The same is true for sustainability in businesses. Your goals should focus on improving the environment, society, and economics. This means reducing your waste, carbon emissions, improving your business culture, giving back to the society, and doing it all in an economically stable manner.
A lot of people think that “going green” is expensive and doesn’t have any financial benefits for the business, but this is not true. When a business is more eco-friendly and sustainable, they improve their reputation in the market and attract more customers, bringing more revenue.
Similarly, when a commercial facility changes its operations for greater sustainability, they find innovative ways to meet customer demands. If your facility installs a more efficient lighting system, it may cost you at first, but the long-term utility savings are noticeably greater.
Most importantly, governments around the world are giving incentives to accelerate sustainability in businesses. You may find that switching to eco-friendly or sustainable options and installing efficient systems in your commercial facility gets you some sort of tax break, subsidy, or discount from the government.
By setting green targets, you can measure how successful your facility has been in achieving its sustainability goals, and use it to your advantage.
2. Reduce Energy Consumption & Waste
The first, simplest, and perhaps the most important thing you can do in your commercial facility to become more sustainable, is to reduce energy consumption, emissions, and waste. Simply reducing light usage and replacing it with more natural light, wherever possible, can help make a difference.
Consider turning the lights off in places where there are enough windows for natural lighting. Another great alternative is to use more energy-efficient LED lights in your commercial facility, to significantly reduce energy consumption.
Consider placing movement sensors to switch of heating and lights in the spaces that are empty. You can make an even greater difference by reducing your commercial facility’s reliance on non-renewable energy sources such as gas, oil, or coal.
Instead, opt for renewable energy suppliers, who power your facility with wind and solar energy. This alone can help reduce your carbon emissions by tons of CO2 per year. You can take matters even further, by investing in a geothermal system, wind turbine, or solar panel installations at your facility.
Not only are such investments providing sustainability in businesses, but they also offer free renewable energy. Think of the utility costs you can save in the long run!
At the same time, you should think about the waste your commercial facility produces. This includes waste of water, plastics, paper, and even resources. A sustainable facility is one that is efficient in saving time, money, and other resources as well.
For example, your facility likely uses a lot of paper. You can look into reducing the use of paper, finding a supplier who provides recycled or eco-friendly paper, recycling the paper you use, or switching to paperless solutions altogether.
Sustainability in businesses also entails finding similar solutions to reduce, reuse, and recycle the plastics your facility uses as well.
If your facility produces water waste, think of ways to reduce the amount of water you use and how you can recycle it. Do the same if it produces chemical waste. But most importantly, you should have measures in place to ensure that non-recyclable chemical waste is disposed off properly, in a way that is least harmful to the environment.
3. Switch to Sustainable Materials
Replacing paper, plastic, or chemical with less harmful alternatives is not the best solution out there. If your commercial facility is serious about sustainability, it should opt for sustainable materials instead.
Do some research and find areas where you can use ‘biodegradable’ and ‘organic’ materials. However, you must be careful about how you source your sustainable materials as well. If you are sourcing them from halfway across the world, it may not be as sustainable (or economical) as you think.
While biodegradable materials are always better than petrochemical materials like plastic, try to source them locally. Not only does this support your local community, but it also reduces carbon emissions from transporting the materials to your facility.
4. Support Sustainability in Businesses (or Elsewhere)
Your eco-friendly commercial facility is part of a larger cause, and you alone cannot fix the bigger issues. This is why you should support sustainability in businesses around you as well. Talk to your partners and raise awareness in your industry.
If there are major environmental issues in your industry, lead by example and show others how they can be fixed or improved. Find ways to support other businesses and communities in your industry, to become more sustainable.
Similarly, you can find environmental charities to support, especially if they share the same sustainability goals as your commercial facility. A great example of an environmental charity is 1% For The Planet. When you join their cause, you donate 1% of your annual gross sales to improve the planet.
5. Aim for Net-Zero
As you pursue sustainability, aim for ‘Net-Zero’. It is an achievable target for most commercial facilities. In simple terms, it means that your commercial facility removes as much greenhouse gases from the environment as it puts in.
Your facility reaches “net-zero” emissions when the amount it adds is no more than the amount it takes out. You can use a calculator like this one, to calculate your facility’s carbon footprint.
Then, start reducing your emissions by reducing transport, travel, energy consumption, etc. Once you’ve done as much as possible, you can offset the remaining emissions by supporting sustainable projects, such as reforestation, to achieve net-zero.
Naysayers will tell you that net-zero is a pipe dream, or that your commercial facility and industry is incapable of sustainability, but you can prove them wrong! Follow our guide as best you can and you will be well on your way to achieve net-zero.
Sustainability in businesses is no longer an option. It is a necessity for the planet, and for business continuity. Wasting and relying on limited natural resources for business or production is a flawed model that will fail sooner rather than later.
If your commercial facility or business is not sustainable, it is not future-proofed. Start making the necessary changes today, so you do not struggle like your unsustainable competitors later.
If you want to learn more, or if you want experienced professionals to help you with sustainable waste removal, recycling services, HVAC replacements, or greener landscaping at your facility, we highly recommend Facilities USA for the job.
Schedule an appointment by calling 833-344-4600, and start your sustainability journey today!