Six Tips to Make Your Small Business Move More Energy Efficient (Guest Post from James Harrison)
Corporate relocation is a big deal, and choosing the wrong office to move your small business to can be fatal. Most businesses cannot afford the time or finances to go through office relocation any more than once every few years, so if you select a building that is unsuitable for any reason, you may well be stuck there for some time.
When you’re planning the move, the biggest expense that every business must consider is the overhead for operating the building they occupy. Thus, the best choice of building for any modern small business keeping an eye on the future is one which has been designed to be energy efficient. With many signals pointing towards a further influx of energy efficiency technology and renewable energy into the market, businesses choosing energy efficient offices are protecting themselves against rising electricity costs both now and in the future.
Selecting an energy efficient building for your small business is not rocket science, but if this is the first time you’re engaging in corporate relocation, we hope that these tips on finding the perfect premises will help.
Consider the Lighting
Let’s cut to the chase – it costs a lot to keep your office properly lit. Your employees need good lighting all the time, so those lights are often burning for over 50 hours per week. You should first consider how much daylight the building receives, as dingy buildings will need to be lit for more hours each day. Next, we recommend that you examine the light fixtures to ensure they are energy efficient. Last but not least, you should look into purchasing CFL bulbs and/or LED bulbs, as these bulbs are more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs, and since they last longer, you’re saving money by having to replace them less frequently.
In general, buildings with motion-sense lighting are excellent for making your small business more energy efficient – the lights are automatically turned off when no worker activity is detected – and this is especially true when coupled with energy efficient overhead lighting.
Heating and Cooling Systems
Along with the aforementioned lighting, the cost of heating and cooling of your small business throughout the year is a substantial amount of your overhead costs. When starting the corporate relocation process, consider the age of the heating, ventilation, and cooling (HVAC) system in the office building that interests you. Those using a passive ventilation system will be far more economical in the long run than those which rely on air conditioning for cooling down. Also, it’s important to look for good insulation and quality glazing, not just for regulation of temperature, but also to keep the noise and distractions from outside of the office to a minimum.
Potential for Micro-Generation
Although there are still few commercial buildings that come with renewable energy like solar cells already installed, you should consider whether this might be an option for your small business in the future. A roof space oriented between southeast and southwest will be ideal for generating solar energy, and buildings with basements or a bit of outside space may be able to convert to biomass heating. You should also check with the utility company for your area to determine if there is a buy-back program for the renewable energy you’d be generating so that you could potentially bring your utility costs to $0.
If you think you have found your perfect, energy efficient office building, it’s time to consider the location as well. Is it close to where people from your workplace live? Are there options for public transport or cycling to the building, or will people be forced to drive their cars every day? What about your suppliers – how far will they have to travel? Although these issues are not directly related to your own overheads, the carbon impact of them is big, and should be considered when you are thinking of business relocation.
Employ an Environmentally Friendly Moving Company
When you finally locate your new energy efficient office, you should hire a moving company that endeavors to be as environmentally friendly as possible for your corporate relocation. Look for a company using vehicles that run on bio-diesel or natural gas as opposed to gas guzzlers.
Choose Green Energy to Power Your Small Business
And since you’re opting for an energy efficient office, we recommend that you choose an electricity plan that uses 100% renewable energy. Check with your utility company for a list of retail electricity providers that offer green energy to small businesses.
Author: James Harrison works as corporate relocation consultant. He regularly contributes content to business websites and blogs, with most of his writings based on tips for small business setups, moving offices, and marketing techniques. In his free time, he plays sports – mainly soccer and chess – and he is also passionate about reading fiction and traveling.