With the seasons changing, it’s reds, browns, and golds as far as the eye can see. So, it’s the time of year when going green might be the last thing on your mind. However, you don’t need to wait until you see more green to start thinking about going green. Here are some ways you can begin your transition immediately, and enjoy the benefits indefinitely.
Taking the Guesswork out of Green
Now, what exactly does it mean to “go green?” Well, it’s actually very simple. Going green means that your company consciously makes environmentally friendly decisions. These decisions include reducing, reusing, and recycling.
More specifically, you can reduce energy by focusing on energy-efficient processes and maintaining an energy-efficient work environment. Reusing materials is a good way to cut costs while making environmentally friendly decisions. Recycling waste converts excess waste into reusable materials.
Before your company can truly go green, it must first have a green mindset. In other words, you must first understand the benefits of going green. Then, you must make going green a priority.
After a while, it will become so natural to make green decisions, that you will make them without even thinking about it.
What are the benefits of going green?
Now, what are the benefits of going green? Well, the benefits are far reaching. However, you will first start to see the impact of your decisions right in your own backyard, so to speak.
Impact on Your Company
One of the great things about going green is that the government recognizes the benefits, as well. Therefore, they are willing to give certain tax incentives to companies who commit to going green. So, what is an incentive? Well, it’s money back into your pocket! Two such incentives are the tax credit and the tax deduction. Here is an explanation of each:
- Tax Credit – This incentive reduces your business tax dollar for dollar. So, when you file your taxes, the credit counteracts each dollar you spent on energy-efficient projects. If your company is eligible for a tax credit, you will see the greatest savings.
- Tax Deduction – This incentive only applies after assessing your gross income. Then, you can deduct certain percentages of the costs of implementing energy-efficient projects. The deductions will depend on the project and the guidelines determined by the IRS.
In order to claim a tax credit or deduction, you must file Form 3468 with your business tax return. Furthermore, only certain items are eligible for tax credits or deductions, so be sure to find the most current list of eligible items.
While these tax deductions are nice, you won’t see them until after you file your tax return. However, by going green you will likely begin to see long before this. For instance, once you begin reducing, reusing, and recycling, you will consequently spend less money.
Impact on Your Community
After you begin to see the financial impact of going green, you will probably look around and see that your community is changing. First of all, going green is catchy. People like knowing that they are doing things that are good for others and our environment. So, your actions could actually have a ripple effect, and encourage others to be more mindful of our planet.
Now, there are specific things you may start to notice within your community once you start going green. For example, you may find out that legislation begins to change. This means that lawmakers will decide to implement regulations to keep individuals and companies from polluting our environment. Also, you may start to see people banding together. For example, people may decide to form carpooling groups, or create a pedestrian-friendly community. As ties strengthen, this could also lead to more people shopping local to support the businesses within their community. Shopping local helps reduce emissions, so the effect of you going green becomes cyclical.
Once your community begins to change, the benefits cannot be contained. So, expect that your actions can have an impact on your world.
Impact on Your World
Now, sometimes it seems that our world has an unending supply of resources. Furthermore, we often believe that Earth has a way of regenerating the parts that we injure. However, those are misconceptions. While our planet has generously provided for us for a long time, we are increasingly depleting the natural resources at an alarming rate. Depleting resources injures the environment, and while the earth will naturally heal itself to a point, there will be a scar.
One such example of the earth trying to heal itself is the massive group if fires in the Amazon Rainforest. For example, as the Amazon Rainforest burns in Brazil, all of the earth is feeling the impact. Importantly, the rainforest is said to absorb more than 20% of the carbon dioxide we emit throughout the world, and in turn releases life-giving oxygen. While the fires will eventually burn out, and plants will grow in place of the ash, the plants will not necessarily be the same. In fact, scientists estimate that it could take centuries for the tropical rainforest to recover completely.
So, as you can see, it’s more important than ever to be mindful of the environment and protecting our world. Consequently, when we practice going green, we reduce pollutants that are released into the environment. Reducing pollutants in the environment helps keep our world healthy.
What are some things my company can to do go green?
Now, going green should not require much thought, initially anyway. So, here are some simple ways your company can start going green:
- Turn off lights, monitors, and TVs when not in use.
- Keep an office watercooler instead of bottled water.
- Have a box of scratch paper for jotting notes, and then recycle those once used.
- Offer incentives to clients that opt into paperless invoices and statements.
- Use local suppliers, instead of having materials and resources shipped in.
After you get the hang of the easy ways to go green, you can start to flex your green muscle. If you are in a position to update, upgrade, or construct a new building, choose high-efficiency options. Some of these high-efficiency options include:
- Hot water systems
Before you make any of these types of changes, however, you will want to make sure that they are pre-approved by a qualified engineer. If you do not get the upgrades certified, they will not be eligible for a tax credit or deduction.
How should I start going green?
As with most changes, the best way to start is to simply take that first step. If you don’t take action right away, you are more likely to delay the process, and maybe never start. So, you don’t want to have any regrets. After taking that initial step, just take it one thing at a time. Implement things you can handle, so that you don’t feel overwhelmed, or like you bit off more than you can chew.
Green with Envy
Going green can be easy to do, if you start with small changes. Furthermore, it is something that benefits more than just the environment. Going green can do good things for your company and your community, as well. Plus, the best part about going green is that it can be contagious. So, if others see you doing your part to help the environment, you will probably start seeing them growing green with envy. Then, once they catch the bug, they, too, will be hooked. Finally, regardless of the season, you will see green everywhere you turn.