How Going Green Saves Your Business Money

Your business can save thousands of dollars while saving the planet. Here's how.

Going green isn’t just for Earth Day. And as a small business owner, if you do your part year round to help the planet, you can save big bucks in the process.

Sarah Yetman, CEO of The Yetman Group, a clean energy consulting company, shared her tips for greening your small business.

“Start your plan by setting up a company­-wide green policy statement,” Yetman said. “These are great to put on your website as well and can be the determining factor for companies who want to work with you.” Here’s an example of a green energy policy statement.

Sarah Yetman, CEO of an environmental consulting group, suggests small changes around the office to make big savings financially. (Photo: Sarah Yetman)

Then try any or all of these nine tips.

Tap into your greatest natural resource: your employees

Solicit suggestions from your employees. “Reward employees who think of the best, new green idea,” she said.

Yetman’s estimated savings: up to $150 per employee per year.

Install motion sensors on lights

“These switches cost between $6 and $40 depending on the model you purchase, but the savings will be seen in as little as one month,” Yetman said. During the day, open curtains and blinds. You’ll save electricity — and have happier employees. “Studies show that natural light increases the mood of the employees and clientele throughout the day,” Yetman said. And of course, use energy efficient bulbs.

Yetman’s estimated savings: up to $200 per employee per year.

Turn down the heat and AC

Set your thermostat up or down with the seasons and on evenings, weekends and other times when no one is in the office. “Reducing the setting by only 5 degrees can reduce your annual spending exponentially,” Yetman said.

Yetman’s estimated savings: up to $200 per employee per year.

Print smarter

Set your printer to print on both sides of the paper, in black and white. Also, use a software program such as GreenPrint that warns you of wasteful printing, including pages that contain only a Web address or page number. “Putting these programs in place will save reams of paper and greatly reduce ink waste,” Yetman said.

Yetman’s estimated savings: $1200 per employee per year.

Go paperless

Ask all employees to skip printing whenever possible and you could reduce paper waste by 17 percent. Use an electronic POS system that delivers electronic receipts and an electronic document management system such as DocuSign or eFileCabinet to eliminate paper altogether.

Yetman’s estimated savings: up to $100 per employee per year.

Turn off the power thieves

“It’s hard to believe that the majority of office power is utilized by machines that are off but plugged into a live outlet, but it’s true,” Yetman said. “Phantom power creates an unnecessary expense and is environmentally wasteful. You can cut this down by providing each workstation a power strip that is turned off nightly.” Ban screen-savers and have employees set their computers to sleep mode instead.

Yetman’s estimated savings: up to $315 per employee per year.

Save to the cloud

“Moving your information to the cloud helps a company in many ways. It is easier to access documents when you need them, it decreases the need to have desktop computers since a tablet or smartphone can access and transfer necessary documents to clients or colleagues and it allows you to keep meeting agendas and notes online instead of printing them,” Yetman said.

Yetman’s estimated savings: up to $800 per employee per year.

Encourage telecommuting

Allowing each team member to work from home even one day each week reduces his or her personal carbon footprint. “With cloud computing and programs like Slack, it is easy to keep the team members connected without issue. The time away from their desk will reduce energy usage as well for the employer,” Yetman said.

Yetman’s estimated savings: up to $300 per employee per year.


“Build a circular economy network by finding other businesses in your area who are interested in inter-company trade in office materials such as ink, supplies not being used, office furniture, electronics and phones,” said Yetman. Her office manager furnished their second office for less than $1,000 by purchasing a truckload of desks from a nearby church that was moving.

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