Incorporating Sustainability into your Small Business

In December’s blog post, we outlined how Canadian businesses and individuals are currently being affected by climate change. For this blog post, we want to share 4 different ways for small businesses to help reduce their environmental impacts and in many cases, save money.

1. Energy Efficiency

The backbone and starting point for any sustainability strategy is energy efficiency. This is because energy efficiency initiatives are usually the cheapest option, the fastest to implement and the most direct way to address your environmental impact. Energy efficiency is also a mature and well-understood strategy, meaning that cost savings and paybacks are extremely accurate, which creates an opportunity for financing or other funding models.

Energy efficiency initiatives drive carbon emission reductions by reducing electricity and fossil fuel consumption. In regions with a low-carbon electricity grid (e.g., Quebec, Ontario and BC), businesses should focus on reducing their heating loads in order to maximize their impact.

Initiatives with a simple payback period from 1-5 years include:

  • LED Lighting Upgrades
    • Electricity savings only
    • LED lights use a fraction of the electricity of incandescent or even fluorescent lights while also lasting 5-10 times longer
    • Payback periods range from <1 to 4 years depending on your current lighting fixtures
  • Smart Thermostats and Sensors
    • Electricity and Natural Gas/Heating Fuel savings
    • Smart thermostats and sensors ensure that your heating and cooling equipment is operating as efficiently as possible
    • They also allow you to turn off your equipment remotely when the office is empty, or set a weekly schedule, providing further savings
    • Energy savings range from 5-20% depending on your equipment and deliver paybacks within the 1 to 4 year range
  • Shading
    • Electricity and Natural Gas/Heating Fuel savings
    • In winter, simply keeping your blinds open during the day to let the sun in and closing them at night can save around 5% of your energy costs (do the opposite in summer)
  • Raise/Lower your thermostat by 1-degree C
    • Electricity and Natural Gas/Heating Fuel savings
    • Lowering your thermostat in winter or raising it in the summer can save 5-10% of your energy costs


 Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5

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