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Tips to make your business more eco-friendly

To celebrate World Earth Day, here are some ideas to help you reduce your carbon footprint – which is not only good for the planet, but it can help your wallet too. Here are some great ways to make a positive change.

Switch to an electric vehicle

Electric vehicle charging point

Electric vehicle technology, including battery life and driving range, has come along way in the last few years. The electric charging infrastructure has also improved significantly – BP’s Polar network now has over 7,000 rapid charging points across the UK. Switching to an electric vehicle not only means you’ll help contribute to cleaner air, but you’ll also make some savings.

The cost per mile of electricity is lower than fuel, while maintenance costs for an electric vehicle are lower than a petrol or diesel car, thanks to fewer moving parts. If you’re a tradesperson operating in any city with clean air zone charges, then upgrading to a low-emission vehicle is also the best way to avoid pricey daily fees.

Driving a low-emission vehicle also suggests that you’re a forward-thinking, eco-friendly business, which will often encourage socially conscious homeowners to pick you over a tradesperson with fewer green credentials.

The government is offering support to businesses who want to switch to low-emission vehicles, including a 20% grant on certain low-emission vans – view the eligible vehicles here. If you’re a sole trader based in the London area, TFL are operating a scrappage scheme to help you upgrade up to three cleaner vehicles.

Go paperless

Electronic receipt on a phone

This is a fairly easy one and a great way to reduce waste. Sign up for paperless billing and statements with your suppliers, vendors and bank. The important stuff will still be sent in the post, but the rest can be viewed online or via email or in-app messages.

You can transition your existing paper files to digital ones to free up space in your office. Scan documents using a scanner or scanner app on your phone, and once you have them on your computer create a digital filing system so you can find anything you need easily. As a precaution, back up important documents to internet based storage. Storage providers such as Dropbox and Box offer a certain amount of free storage and if you have a Google Mail account you get 15GB of free storage on Google Drive. Alternatively, switch to online digital accounting software which can help you manage invoices, receipts and quotes.

Switching to digital receipts, quotes and invoices that can be sent via email makes life a bit easier. Not only can you make templates, saving time when it comes to writing one up, a digital receipt is often easier to keep track of.

Be smart

Smart energy control terminal

The best thing about moving to a smart energy and water system is that you can access all the data about your usage from your smartphone or monitor. It’s simple to see how much energy you’re consuming, exactly how much it’s costing you and how you can lower your energy use and bills. A smart water meter can also locate leaks and waste areas on your business premises.

Most systems will allow you to set an energy budget, which will help you save energy and money. With a smart thermostat you can take full control using your smartphone – giving you the ability to switch the heating on or off completely (or in separate rooms) and change the temperature via an app. Perfect if you’ve left the heating on or if it’s on too high. Most smart thermostats have other useful features such as temperature alerts for water pipes, voice control, and the ability to link up to other smart technology such as Alexa or Google Home.

Start small

Man on building site with a drinks flask

Some changes, such as replacing a vehicle or going paperless, may take weeks or months to put into place. However, there are certain things you can change right now that will make our planet healthier:

• Swap takeaway cups and containers for reusable ones
• Buy from green suppliers or vendors
• Share a ride to a job
• Recycle used equipment and materials
• Dispose of waste responsibly

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