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7 Must-Try Green Business Ideas for Business Owners
September 14, 2017
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7 Must-Try Green Business Ideas for Business Owners

Many green business ideas used to be time-consuming and complicated, but thanks to technology and an increasing emphasis on sustainable business practices, being eco-friendly is easier (and cheaper) than ever. And, besides being good for the planet, spending time on eco-friendly initiatives is good for your bottom line from a marketing perspective as well.

In this post, we’ll review seven must-try green business ideas. We’ve included a range of ideas — from small changes you can implement today to large undertakings that take significant investments. Read on to learn more about the eco-friendly business ideas you’re missing out on.

Green Business Ideas for Entrepreneurs:

1. Facility Management with the Internet of Things (IoT)

Much is made of the convenience of IoT technology for in-home applications. It’s not too uncommon for homeowners to have AC units, televisions, security systems and more controlled by Amazon’s Echo or other comparable products.

But did you know that business owners can do the same thing when it comes to their facilities?

For example, let’s say you rent warehouse space for distribution centers (or similar uses) and you need to keep those facilities clean. Depending on how large it is, you may have many machines you use to keep that facility clean.

With IoT, you can manage the fleet of cleaning machines from the convenience of your phone.

And here’s how it fits into sustainable business practices: detailed reports on your machine’s cleaning routines.

With that info, you can optimize your cleaning processes—reducing energy waste, slowing equipment depreciation and responding to maintenance issues quickly. Building management, with the advent of the IoT, has made huge strides in sustainability.

2. Green Vehicle Fleets with Hybrid Retrofitting

FedEx has doubled the energy efficiency of its fleet by teaming up with Wrightspeed, a company that builds electric powertrains. These powertrains are dropped into existing vehicles to make a previously diesel or petroleum-fueled vehicle into an electric vehicle.

With the electric engine in place, your vehicles run much more efficiently and have lower maintenance costs. Additionally, you don’t sacrifice range. By adding an onboard turbine generator powered by diesel, this system recharges the batteries that power the electric motor.

While it does use fossil fuel, the fossil fuel is used to recharge the battery rather than make the engine run. This makes energy efficiency available to business owners who don’t have the funds to buy brand new, hybrid vehicles.

3. Discounts for eco-friendly customer behavior

For a scaled-down green business idea, you can offer discounts to your customers who are eco-friendly. Get creative with this one. Perhaps you own a retail store and want to promote green forms of transportation. You could offer your customers a $1 discount for riding their bike or taking public transit to your store. Confirm they did so by offering the discount in exchange for them bringing their bike helmet or their transit ticket.

4. Rethink coffee consumption

It’s easy to get into the habit of being wasteful without even realizing it. Single-serve coffee makers are incredibly convenient, but think about all the waste you generate with those little plastic pods of coffee.

Using a filter or French press to make your coffee eliminates that unnecessary waste. You can also reuse coffee grounds—it makes a great skin exfoliator and fertilizer for your garden.

5. Go paperless

Another way technology is fueling eco-friendly business practices is by eliminating the need for paper. From point-of-sale software that offers receipts by email to apps that convert your smartphone into a scanner, there are tons of options.

There’s even an app called FileThis which you can use to collect bills and store them in PDFs on any one (or more) of multiple online storage services. That way you can simply navigate to Amazon Cloud Drive or Dropbox to access all your bills—no paper needed.

6. Solar Energy

If you haven’t already heard, the price of going solar is dropping. According to a report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the United States’ coal generation will be cut in half by 2040. The report also said that the price of wind energy will drop as well, so the reduction in coal generation won’t be exclusively due to solar.

Nonetheless, it’s worth looking at how solar energy might reduce your costs, and your impact on the environment.

7. Energy-Efficient Fixtures

Something just about anyone can do is to install energy-efficient fixtures. That includes point of use water systems, low-flow toilets and shower heads, or high-efficiency light bulbs.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine did a study on the sustainability of point-of-use drinking water treatment. They found the filters to “exhibit better environmental performance for four of five evaluated life cycle impacts: energy use, water use, global warming potential and particulate matter emissions.”

In addition, energy.gov offers ideas on lighting choices to help you save money.

The choice to use more efficient light bulbs, low-flow toilets and showers is good for the environment and—like the other ideas we outlined—cuts costs.

With the help of technology, the number of eco-friendly business ideas you can come up with is limitless. And these days, they costs less than ever to implement.

Leave a comment below and share any green business ideas you’ve come up with. It doesn’t matter if they’re big or small, everything helps!

Fora Financial

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Fora Financial is a working capital provider to small business owners nationwide. In addition, the Fora Financial team provides educational information to the small business community through their blog, which covers topics such as business financing, marketing, technology, and much more. If you’d like to see a topic covered on the Fora Financial blog, or want to submit a guest post, please email us at [email protected].
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