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A Green Business Starts With Small StepsFebruary 17, 2011 By: Michael Browne
Over the last few years, “going green” has become second nature to most of us. We’re aware of it and we all do what we consider to be our part. You, as home-based travel agents have a head start in that you work at home—there is very little carbon footprint expended on the journey from bedroom or kitchen to home office. But are you—and all of us—doing everything you can to make sure you’re running a green business?
Environmentally friendly actions don't have to be large to have an impact. Consistently reducing the amount of energy, water and paper your business uses can make a huge difference, both to the environment and to your wallet. For instance, how much paper would you save over the course of a year, if you always ran double-sided copies? It’s a small, easy way to go green but it can have a big result.
Saving energy for your home-based business may seem like a challenge, but there are some simple, no-cost or low-cost steps you can take to reduce your energy bills by as much as 30 percent. And when you think about it, all the savings you earn are also saving you money on your household expenses. Here are some tips from the U.S. Small Business Administration, Business Gateway and Energy Star to help you save money and do more for the environment at the same time:
Turn up or turn back the thermostat during unoccupied times.
Consider buying a programmable thermostat.
Turn off lights or office equipment at night and over the weekend.
Take advantage of daylight.
Use e-mail instead for faxes and paper memos or letters.
Disconnect unnecessary equipment.
Caulk and weather-strip windows and doors.
Replace light bulbs with more efficient ones. Consider changing to high-efficiency light bulbs or CFLs.
Install timers on lights and electric equipment.
Install blinds or shades to keep out summer sun and lower air-conditioning costs.
Fix leaky faucets, showerheads, pipes, and toilets.
Consider buying ENERGY STAR labeled equipment, such as computers, monitors, fax machines, printers and copiers.
Speaking of going green, Travel Agent magazine will once again be publishing our Green Issue this April in time for Earth Day. If any of you out there consider yourselves to be especially green travel agents, we’d love to hear from you and find out just what you’re doing to help protect the environment and promote thoughtful, low-impact and sustainable travel, or share some destinations and itineraries that would fall under those categories. Which suppliers are doing an exceptional job of making eco-travel easier? Shoot me an email at [email protected] and let’s talk about going green and, more importantly to your bottom line, selling green.