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Green thinking saves more than the environment

Small businesses should not be deterred from taking a greener approach as it could actually save them money, a local expert has revealed...

Susan Relf, from Dyke Yaxley Chartered Accountants, in Shrewsbury, said it was a common myth that making changes to be more environmentally friendly was hugely expensive.

"Many small businesses who would like to 'think green' are put off by the thought of how expensive it may be.

"But in fact, introducing relatively small changes to your business can often bring a significant increase in energy efficiency, which is good for the environment and good for your bottom line too."

Susan said business owners should begin by monitoring how much energy their business was using and keep a record of where the biggest costs were so that they could make any necessary improvements.

"It's vital that you get everyone involved in your plan too - if your employees are fully informed they can work with you to cut energy consumption, so draw up an environmental policy and give staff specific responsibilities so that they take it seriously."

She said almost 75 per cent of small business employees regularly worked well past traditional office hours, so the last person to leave the office must ensure they turned off costly appliances and lights before they left the building.

"Make it easier for your staff to recycle by putting appropriate bins near the source of the waste, such as paper recycling bins next to photocopiers and printers.  You should also remove individual bins and replace them with communal recycling bins."

Susan said even the smallest changes to your business premises could have a big impact on energy usage. "Fit a variable flush or siphon in your company toilets and you could save up to four litres of water per flush, at a cost of around £20.  And energy efficient light bulbs can save up to 50 per cent of energy immediately, as well as lasting ten times longer than a traditional light bulb."

Other unnecessary costs can be removed by installing motion detector lighting in areas that are not used regularly, and by setting computers, heating and other electrical equipment on a timer.

"So making your business greener need not be expensive, and could even bring new business opportunities if you adopt a positive and pro-active approach."

Dyke Yaxley's Susan Relf