Having an environmentally friendly business is a big topic these days. Global climate change continues, the planet growing warmer overall, affecting weather in often frightening ways. Various animal habitats are vanishing, some rivers and lakes have become toxic, and it’s up to us to treat the Earth with more kindness. Fortunately, there are steps your self storage facility can take, starting today, to reduce its environmental impact.
Reduce, Recycle, Reuse
You’ve no doubt heard this environmental mantra, which essentially means the same thing as the old saying, “Waste not, want not.” Here are some ways you can follow this advice.
Reduce - Make sure the lights around your facility are activated by motion. This will ensure that they’re on when tenants and employees need them, but that they stop using power when no one is around. Reduce air travel (which will save you money as well) by having conference calls and Internet video meetings.
Reuse - For office notes, use recycled paper, and write on both sides.
Recycle - Find out how recycling centers in your area prefer to have items separated, and have bins for each type. For example, they may to separate items into paper, plastic, and glass, or plastic and glass may go together. Use those bins and have an employee take them to the nearest recycling center once or twice a week.
Partner With Recycling Centers
You can take your recycling efforts further by hosting large recycling bins near your office, and encouraging tenants to use them. In addition to bins for paper, plastic, and glass, there are bins for clothes, cardboard, and more. Recycling centers that provide these will also remove the items for you.
This has the additional benefit of looking good to your customers, most of whom will appreciate your dedication to recycling.
We don’t usually think about it this way, but using electricity means burning fewer fossil fuels, like coal, since not all our energy plants are nuclear. Electricity also costs money, so the more efficiently your business uses it, the better for your bottom line.
When you purchase new equipment, whether it’s a refrigerator or microwave in the break room or a climate control system, look first into Energy Star. This program, run by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is currently voluntary and seeks to protect the climate and help save individuals and businesses money by encouraging appliance and other machine manufacturers to adhere to certain energy saving guidelines. It’s even possible to get tax credits for Energy Star use.
You can also save money by having your climate control systems better insulated. A building contractor can do this for you. Insulation means the cooled or warmed air won’t be affected by the outside weather seeping in.
To reduce your energy costs further, invest in solar panels, which a solar power company can install. They may be able to put them on the roofs of all buildings, including the main office, greatly reducing your daytime energy costs. This can be expensive, but over the years it will pay for itself.
All this will take a change in behavior for you and your employees. Teach them your environmentally friendly procedures, and remind them until it becomes second nature to them. You may want to create a flyer or poster for the wall outlining new rules.
New behaviors should include the following.
Turn off lights and other devices when they’re not in use. This includes computers, which employees can shut down at the end of the day, unless important processes are running.
Communicate electronically when possible, rather than in writing. This means using email rather than faxes, when possible, and only printing documents when necessary.
Print documents on both sides of paper.
When it comes to purchasing new office supplies and more, follow these tips.
Use recycled paper—or at least paper with a high content of recycled material—when possible, including for printer paper.
When looking at office furniture, research products that use recycled plastic.
When possible, sell quality storage products, such as your boxes, made with recycled materials.
Use more environmentally-friendly cleaning products. This will take some research on your part, but will protect your immediate work environment as well as our shared environment.
Making your self storage facility more environmentally friendly comes with a variety of benefits. First, tenants and others in the community aware of your efforts to leave less of a footprint on the earth will appreciate what you do. It can greatly help your reputation in the community, and bring you more business. Many people are concerned about the environment and want to work with environmentally-conscious businesses. You may want to put small signs in your office windows about your efforts, such as “We use Energy Star Appliances,” or “Recycle Here.” Second, it can save you money by lowering your electricity bill and reducing waste. Third, you and your employees can feel proud of your efforts.
Some of these measures don’t cost much to implement, while others require a large initial monetary expenditure. However, even the most expensive things on this list, like getting your climate control system insulated and adding solar panels, will save your company a lot of money over time. Do what you can afford and you’ll reap the benefits.