When Solar Innovations® moved to its new facility in 2009, the new facilities were custom designed to revolve around a green business practice. With months of hard work and dedication, Solar was eventually granted 62 points toward LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification, granting the new campus Gold Certification by the USGBC.
While going green should be a priority in commercial and residential settings, it is not always the easiest practice. To help, here are a few tips from Solar Innovations for going green to save green.
Use Less Gas
Going to work, getting the kids to school, picking up groceries, and all the other errands in between are just a few reasons you’re filling your tank once a week. The good news is, you can save money and go green by cutting back on the gas you use.
Walking or biking to work or the grocery store—as long as they’re a reasonable distance away—will save you money, give you a little workout, and you will use absolutely no gas. You can also consider telecommuting or even moving closer to your work.
If your destination is too far to walk or bike, take public transportation or car pool with others. You may have to pay for the ride, but you won’t have to worry about finding a parking spot. Getting a new car is also an option. The quality and durability of electric cars is increasing and they’re perfect for short, daily commutes. Solar Innovations® and many other companies have preferred parking for energy efficient and carpool vehicles to encourage employs to commute green.
Be thrifty with what you buy—buy secondhand or gently used clothes, furniture, and appliances. Checking out auctions, garage sales, consignment shops, and even the internet for some great deals on like-new merchandise can really help you to save money.
You could also get a library card instead of buying books and going to the movies. Most memberships don’t cost anything, and you usually get access to books, movies, magazines, newspapers, the internet, and more.
If you’re a veggie lover, start a garden and grow your own produce. Becoming a gardener will help you eat better, give you a hobby, and get you out of the house instead of sitting in front of the TV. If you don’t have the time or resources, make sure you buy locally grown produce whenever you can—that applies to meats, eggs, and dairy. Purchasing from local farmers helps keep your money in the local economy and helps out your neighbors.
Also, skip the bottled water and invest in a good reusable bottle. Bottled water is just filtered tap water anyway.
Make Your Own Cleaning Supplies
Most cleaning products are filled with harsh chemicals that are damaging to the environment. You can make your own cleaning products with a few simple ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, and lemon. Making your own cleaning supplies will save you money and reduce the number of bottles in your cleaning closet as well as dangerous chemicals in your house.
Conserve Water and Energy
Take shorter showers and fix any leaky faucets to reduce the amount of water you use. At the same time, try setting your thermostat a few degrees lower in the winter and a few degrees higher in the summer. This small change will be reflected when it comes time to pay the bills. If you’re looking for more ways to save energy, unplug appliances when they’re not being used and switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLS) when your old light bulbs burn out. Also, try to coincide doing laundry when it’s a nice day, that way you can hang your clothes outside to air dry.
Try reusing or repurposing old clothes and containers. Use your old towels to wash your vehicles and your old blankets for pet beds. Save jars and sturdy plastic containers from store bought food and use them instead of buying Tupperware. You can also use the hundreds of plastic grocery bags you have as liners in your bathroom or office instead of buying extra trash bags. Also, invest a few dollars into some canvas shopping totes so you won’t have to deal with the surplus of bags you’re likely to have.
Start a Compost Pile
If you’re a gardener, you should also think about starting a compost pile. Egg shells, fruit pits, vegetable peels, and other compostable materials contain organic nutrients your garden will thrive on. Solar Innovations® keeps a container in the lunch room for team members to dispose of their biodegradable food items. At the end of each day, the container is taken outside and disposed of in the compost pile.
These are just a few initiatives to go green and save green. Do your wallet and the environment some good and implement one, a few, or even all of these into your work or home lifestyle.