Do you own or work for a small business (or satellite office/franchise/regional office)? If so, you can use this easy to follow guide to start making small changes today. Or if you are already on your way, skip to Level 2 where you will find next steps to make your business even more sustainable! You can also download or print the pdf version here: Small Business Sustainability Guide.
Level 1 – Getting Started
What can I do?
Why should I do it?
Contact local energy providers to see if they offer commercial energy assessments
A professional review of your energy usage can help your business understand the amount of energy you are using, establish a baseline, and identify areas for reducing usage and saving energy and money.
Participate in the commercial rebate programs through Southwest Gas. (Rebates are available for natural gas saving equipment including: furnaces, tankless water heaters, fryers, conveyor ovens, dish washers, pre-rinse spray valves, and more!)
By improving your facility with high efficiency natural gas equipment, your business can be more energy efficient and environmentally responsible while maximizing your business potential. Southwest Gas Rebates
Replace any incandescent lighting and inefficient florescent fixtures (where feasible) with energy efficient lighting (such as compact fluorescent, LED, or T5 or T8 fluorescent lighting).
Efficient lighting solutions last longer, save you money on your energy bills, and requires less cooling. Energy Star lighting
Insulate your water heater and set the water temperature to 120 degrees.
You can save $12-$30 annually for each 10 degree reduction and it will slow mineral build-up and corrosion in your water heater and pipes. DIY energy saving projects
Conduct a water assessment (self guided walkthrough) of your facility as a first step to understanding how water is used and to identify opportunities for improvement.
Understanding your water usage will help you know where you are using water, how much, and what it is costing your business as well as help identify areas to conserve. EPA water saving information
Place accessible recycling bins in all office areas, at desks, in common areas, and outside the building.
The more bins available, and the more convenient they are, the more likely your employees are to use them. Republic Services – businesses recycling
Implement a carpooling program for employees.
Carpooling reduces each person’s travel costs such as fuel and maintenance. It is also less stressful and a more sustainable way to travel as sharing journeys reduces carbon emissions, traffic congestion on the roads, and the need for parking spaces. RTC – Club Ride
Replace all single use and disposable products with reusable and washable alternatives, such as cups, plates, bowls, utensils. Avoid any and all Styrofoam products.
Reusable products reduce waste and divert plastic and paper goods from the landfill.
Reduce paper use through paperless billing, paperless communications, or converting another process to paperless.
Going paperless can help you get more organized, communicate more efficiently and inexpensively, and will save you money on paper and printer/ink expenses.
Use green cleaning products or employ a green cleaning service.
Use lower toxicity/low VOC products to reduce air pollution and exposure (look for GreenSeal certified items) EPA safer choice products
Level 2 – Next Steps
What can I do?
Why should I do it?
Install a renewable energy system to offset your energy use (i.e.. solar, wind, geothermal, etc.).
Powering even a portion of your energy needs through renewables can lower your power bill and has less impact on the environment than conventional technologies. SEIA.org solar tax-credit
Have or purchase ENERGY STAR appliances.
ENERGY STAR certified appliances help consumers save money on operating costs by reducing energy use without sacrificing performance. Energy Star appliances
Manage stormwater resources or use water harvesting techniques when possible and allowed in your jurisdiction.
When stormwater is absorbed into soil, it is filtered and ultimately replenishes aquifers or flows into streams and rivers. In developed areas, impervious surfaces such as pavement and roofs prevent precipitation from naturally soaking into the ground. Stormwater information
Participate in SNWA’s Turf removal program and receive the WaterSmart Landscapes rebate.
Keeping a lawn green and healthy in Southern Nevada requires more water than a rain forest. For each square foot of lawn that is converted to Water Smart Landscaping 55 gallons of water are saved. SNWA rebates
Provide on-site food waste collection and disposal. Choose to compost, or dispose of through a local farm, community garden, etc.
By collecting food waste and delivering it to an alternative source it gets put to good use to feed animals or fertilize plants, as opposed to being sent to a landfill. EPA food management
Provide bus vouchers to employees, especially if located within 1/2 mile of transit stop.
Currently, Americans use more energy for transportation than for commercial, residential or industrial use. Did you know that buses emit 80% less carbon monoxide than the average car? Switching to public transit can also have a huge impact on gasoline use. RTC maps and information
Install an electric vehicle charging station at your facility.
Encourage the use of electric vehicles by employees and customers. This helps reduce overall emissions related to travel to and from your business.
Install a water filtration system for reusable bottles.
Tacitly encourage employees to bring reusable water bottles, and discourage the use of single use plastic bottles.
Organize or participate in at least one volunteer event in the community quarterly.
Volunteer for Earth Day, Get Outdoors NV Day, or any other event/organization to have a direct impact on your community and increase employee moral.
Provide employee showers and locker or changing rooms.
Offering showering and changing facilities encourages biking to work as well as pre, mid, or post work day fitness activities.