Making your business green

Going green is a
phenomenon that is definitely catching on in Cayman. Now customers and clients
are starting to ask a business about its green track record.  But for small businesses owners, going green
may seem like a daunting task.

There
are a couple of things to consider about being green, one being how green your
actual business is and the other how green you are being when it comes to daily
activities.

The
good news is, it doesn’t take much to get the green ball rolling, and it
doesn’t have to cost anything.

“You
can have someone come in and do an energy audit of your business to inform you
about a series of measures you can take, some of which you don’t have to spend
money on,” says Jorge Vera of Smart Energy Management.

“There
are also products on the market that can cut your energy bills.”

He
adds for a small business there is not much sense in hiring a dedicated person
to take care of the green aspects of your business, but it is definitely worth
designating one person who can collect information on your energy use and
expenses that can go toward putting together a little energy plan.

“That
person can check the costs and research things you can do to cut your
electricity bill and water bill,” he says. If you are renting, it never hurts
to ask the landlord to provide some energy efficiency measures, like replacing
windows and installing insulation.

“A
landlord could advertise their building as energy efficient to attract tenants
who value that aspect,” says Vera.

Cindy O’Hara of Design
Cayman, the firm behind the very green Government Accommodation Project, says
the best and easiest step is to insulate the roof if looking to cut energy
costs.

Other
ways to cut energy include reducing the heat generated indoors by computers and
lighting, and by ensuring the air conditioning system is calibrated to suit the
size and air volume of the space it is cooling.

She
also notes that since the GOAP project has commenced, the availability of green
products on island will be greater and ongoing as such a large building will
need constant maintenance.

“For
the first time there will be all sorts of green business items available in
quantities that will make them easily sourced on-Island,” she says.

“And
if you are opening a new business or building new premises,it is way more
cost-efficient to install green elements right away than trying to do a
retrofit to an existing property.”

Simple
changes that you can make related to daily activities can also go far in giving
your business a green edge.

“If
you start with five simple things, it will help you get over the fear of
change,” says project manager Tara Tvedt-Pearson of BrightIdeas.

Tvedt-Pearson spearheaded the green team at DMS, and has helped small businesses come up with
a green plan, based on her own experiences.

“Before
we didn’t have a budget, we had to prove it was a viable committee, and it now
has about 10 staff on it,” says Tvedt-Pearson.

The
committee’s actions started with getting rid of the plastic and styrofoam products
used in the staff kitchen.

The
team also initiated recycling the company’s toner cartridges, reducing the
newspaper count by having staff share papers, and reusing papers by taking them
to the Humane Society.

DMS
also collects cans, which are taken to the dump to be baled for recycling.

Tvedt-Pearson,
who also developed the project management plan for the Cayman Become campaign
to eliminate plastic bags from Cayman’s supermarkets, says that initiative
brought awareness of going green to a wide cross-section of Cayman.

“It
forced the public to become more aware about green issues, as it affected every
market demographic as everyone shops at the grocery stores,” she said.

Now
that the green demand is out there, she says, the important thing is for
businesses to come up with a road map for green activities that they can
sustain.

“Sustaining
those steps is key, and starting with the smaller things, once you a handle on
that then you can consider moving on to more substantial things,” she says.

Putting
together a mission of what can be done and sharing it with staff in the company
through training and information will allow everyone to participate and feel
proud of what is accomplished.

Green
is here to stay, and as time passes more things will start happening,” she says.

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