Ben Maritato
Ben Maritato
Climate Planning Technician

5 Easy Ways to Green Your Business

SBC recently launched the Sierra Green Business Network, a regional affiliate of the statewide California Green Business Network. The program provides local businesses with free environmental consulting services to help them earn their Green Business Certification. The certification comes with a myriad of benefits, including a window cling to identify their certification to the public, a framed certificate, access to our predeveloped Green Business Marketing Toolkit, a listing on the Shop Green App (available in the App Store), promotion in our own outreach and being part of a statewide network of over 4,000 like minded businesses. A recent statewide poll of certified green businesses found that over 50% reported seeing an increase in customers after earning their Green Business Certification.SBDC SierraCAGBNlogo

The benefits of greening your business can also extend beyond just your operations. Many of our local jurisdictions have adopted various sustainability goals and commitments. By greening your business, you can set an example to fellow local businesses and play a role in helping to meet those goals and transforming our region for the better.

If you’re interested in greening your business, SBC will be hosting a FREE Green Business 101 workshop at the North Tahoe Events Center on October 23 from 8:00 - 9:30 AM. Interested participants can register for the workshop here. Businesses that are unable to attend but still want to earn their Green Business Certification you can visit our program website to sign up and learn more about the program. If you’re looking to jump start your certification, here are 5 easy ways you can green your business operations:

1. Upgrade Lighting to LED Lighting
LED light bulbs use on average 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs and 40% less than CFL bulbs, plus they have longer expected lifetimes. These improvements equate to lower energy use, lower utility bills and less maintenance/replacement time that more than offset the increased upfront cost of LEDs. If you are considering upgrading your business’s lighting, be sure to contact your utility provider since they likely offer some type of incentive or rebates to upgrade to LEDs. Act quickly though,many incentives will be expiring at the end of 2019.

2. Replace Traditional Lawns with Native Landscaping
Maintaining a turf lawn uses a large amount of water. By replacing non natives grass lawns with drought tolerant native plants and/or grasses, business owners can significantly reduce their outdoor water consumption.

3. Only Rain Down the Storm Drain
By ensuring that only rain enters storm drains at your business’s location, you prevent harmful chemicals and environmental contaminants from entering local bodies of water. Keeping storm drains clear of debris and sediment prevents pollution and sediment from clouding waterways and harming aquatic wildlife.

4. Encourage Employees to Commute Using Alternative Forms of Transportation
Whether it’s walking, biking, public transit, electric vehicle or carpooling, by encouraging employees to commute to work by not driving alone in a fossil fuel powered car, your business can reduce its carbon footprint and local traffic congestion. You can encourage employees to use alternative transportation by keeping a bicycle repair kit at work, reserving priority parking for carpools, sponsoring/ defraying the cost of transit passes for employees or brainstorming other incentives with staff.

5. Use 3rd Party Certified Nontoxic Cleaners
By using nontoxic cleaners you reduce employees and customers exposure to potentially harmful chemicals. Be sure to select products with a reputable third party certification like Safer Choice or Green Seal, to avoid greenwashing and other misleading product branding.

While this list is a great starting point for businesses looking to go green, there are plenty of ways they can reduce their environmental impact. If you want to learn more about how your business can begin operating more sustainably and earn your Green Business Certification in the process be sure to join SBC Wednesday, October 23 at the North Tahoe Events Center from 8:00 AM - 9:30 AM for the Green Business 101 Workshop. The Sierra Green Business Network’s goal of promoting sustainable business practices aligns perfectly with SBC’s triple bottom line mission to simultaneously improve the communities, economies and environment of the Sierra Nevada.