8 Ways To Step Up Sustainability In 2018

Energy audits and low-flow fixtures are among the cost-saving, sustainability measures to introduce — or expand upon — within your facilities for the new year.

Whether you manage a small business or oversee operations for a large corporation, sustainability can help reduce operating costs. For example, ISSA’s DEAL program, developed in partnership with Sustainability Dashboard Tools, Inc., helped 20 participating distributors of cleaning products collectively save more than $400,000 in one year by implementing simple sustainability initiatives.

ISSA is a trade association for the cleaning industry, and Sustainability Dashboard Tools is a firm that uses its sustainability and data expertise to help clients track key performance indicators toward their sustainability goals.

Photo: Creative Commons/Horia Varlan

“Cost savings is fast becoming one of the key reasons businesses now adopt sustainability programs,” observes Stephen Ashkin, CEO of Sustainability Dashboard Tools. He offers these eight tips below to help more businesses get on the cost-savings, sustainability bandwagon:

1. Know where your energy dollars are going. The U.S. Department of Energy has identified lighting, space heating, and cooling as the most energy consuming operations in a facility. “By knowing this, we can take steps to reduce consumption in these specific areas.”

2. Conduct an Energy Audit. Even if we know where most of our energy dollars are going, an energy audit will help identify where energy may be wasted.

3. Label switches. Labeling switches as to which can be left on and which should be turned off at the end of the day, gets building users on board, cutting energy consumption and costs. Related to this, sensor lighting turns lights on and off based on room activity and is a very effective way to cut energy costs.

4. Remove personal trash containers. Install centrally located trash bins, some for “wet” and others for “dry” trash. This reduces the use of costly plastic liners dramatically.

5. Eliminate team travel. Video conferencing saves money, time, and in most cases, proves very useful.

6. Go low-flow. When a facility’s water consumption is reduced by installing more water efficient fixtures, this also reduces energy consumption. It takes energy to deliver and remove water from a building. Less water consumed means less energy needed.

7. Allow staff members to work remotely. This a cost saving for workers, but some studies indicate many workers are more productive working from home.

8. Put computers in sleep mode. “Also put computers into hibernation mode whenever they are not needed,” says Ashkin. “I see people leave their computers on all day. They consume far less energy when sleeping.”