June 25, 2010
By: Jim Oosterman
People are becoming more and more aware of our increasing troubled environment. Because of this growing public concern, "going green" has also become a priority for many businesses. Banks are now offering paperless eStatements, an electronic statement that you view and/or print from a secure site every month. With online banking, customers are able to electronically access account info, make loan payments, transfer funds, review account activity, confirm that checks have cleared, verify balances and pay bills. Businesses are also starting to reduce their carbon footprint by making offices more energy efficient. Wondering how you can go green? There are plenty of small things you can do to reduce your environmental impact.
What consumers can do
- Change your light bulbs. Installing a compact fluorescent bulb (CFL) is the quickest, easiest way to save energy and money. Unlike incandescent lights, CFLs convert most of the energy they use into light rather than heat. They use 75% less energy and last 10 times longer.
- Get an energy audit to see exactly how much electricity and energy your home is using and where it's being wasted. Local utility companies like NationalGrid may offer this service free of charge and offer online assessments and ways to reduce energy.
- Shop at our local farmer's market to reduce gas emissions while also supporting local farmers.
- B.Y.O.B (bring your own bags) when you go grocery shopping. It saves paper and plastic!
- Use green household cleaners to keep harmful chemicals out of the air and out of your lungs, providing you with a cleaner, healthier environment.
- View and pay your bills online. If everyone did this, 16 million trees would be saved.
- Attach a water-saving nozzle to your outside hose. If only 10% of American households did this, we would save enough water to fill over 128,000 bathtubs everyday.
- Recycle your newspaper. Over 75 million trees could be saved. Every year 10 million tons of newspapers are thrown into landfills, enough to make a 12 foot wall from New York to California. Recycling 1 ton of paper saves 17 trees and 7,000 gallons of water.
- Unplug your appliances, especially when you're away on vacation. This would save more than 5 billion dollars annually on standby power alone-which is 5% of all the electricity consumed across the country!
What businesses can do
- Turn off or dim the lights in unused offices or conference rooms, and switch to CFL light bulbs.
- Use as much natural light as possible.
- Set computers to hibernate or sleep mode.
- Change your settings to conserve the most energy, and power down electronics when you leave for the day.
- Keep things as digital as possible, use e-mail instead of writing messages on paper.
- Set copiers to two-sided printing.
- Using recycled paper generates 95% less air pollution. It is a quick and easy way to go green.
How does this translate into a positive impact for your business? Simply put, going green saves money: reduced waste equals reduced costs. It also aids in branding, builds community and boosts your reputation. This will put you in even better standing with your investors, stakeholders, and community neighbors.
The benefits of going green
Saving the earth. With all the damage done to our planet, collective efforts are needed to make a difference. Spreading awareness and solutions are necessary for our earth's recovery. Green living can also save you money by reducing your energy and electric bills. From driving less to better gas mileage, every saved dollar adds up and so do individual acts of green if we all do our part. Becoming a part of this movement is important. We need to tell everyone we know that green living is not only good for the wallet, but also good for the soul. Going green will not only help save our earth, it will improve our quality of life.
James Oosterman is the Vice President of Melrose Bank. He can be reached by telephone 781-665-2500, online at melrosebank.com or on Facebook at facebook.com/MelroseBank.
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