Tips for a greener business
Table of contents
Many business owners look for ways to reduce their energy costs and minimize their impact on the environment. You can make small changes in your business to promote a healthier planet. This guide provides tips and resources to help you make your business a greener one.
For additional information and resources, visit the Canada Business Environment and business page.
Using less energy can cut down on your energy costs and lower greenhouse gas emissions. You can take these simple steps to cut down on your energy use:
- Use electricity at off-peak times: Smart meters and time-of-use pricing can save you money. Energy at mid- and off-peak hours may cost less.
- Unplug electronics that you aren’t using: Computers, photocopiers and other electronic products use small amounts of energy when they are plugged in. Use a power bar to make it easier to turn them off.
- Choose energy-efficient products: ENERGY STAR ® appliances and compact fluorescent light bulbs use less electricity. Using energy-efficient products will lower your energy costs.
- Train your staff to conserve energy: Talk to your staff about saving energy and create a plan that includes temperature control and proper lighting.
Programs, incentives and rebates
There are incentives and rewards for businesses that cut down on their energy use, including:
Save on energy
You may be eligible for energy savings or free products to help your small business save electricity. Current programs include:
- Small business lighting
Offers up to $2,000 in energy efficient lighting upgrades for qualifying businesses.
- Retrofit program
Provides incentives for replacing inefficient equipment with energy efficient equipment.
- High performance new construction
Offers design assistance and incentives for building owners and architects who exceed the electricity efficiency standards specified in the Ontario Building Code.
- Demand response
Compensates participating businesses for reducing energy consumption during specific times.
Identify your local electric utility
Incentive programs search
You can use the Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines’ website to search for additional incentive programs to help you lower your energy use.
Incentive programs for business
You may be able to lower your business supply costs and help the environment by cutting down on the amount of waste your business creates.
Examples of common office waste are:
- Staples and paper clips
- Toner and printer cartridges
Some easy steps you can take to reduce your office waste are:
- Use email and computer documents instead of printing
- Switch to recycled or reusable office products
- Recycle as many items as possible
- Use less paper by printing on both sides of the page
For information on pollution and waste prevention, visit the Environment and Climate Change Canada website.
When new technology replaces old technology, you are left with unused computers, laptops, cell phones, tablets and photocopiers. You can reduce the amount of electronic waste that ends up in landfills by recycling and reusing your electronics.
Learn more about recycling your electronic waste from the Ontario Electronic Stewardship (OES).
Hazardous materials and chemical waste
If your business works with chemicals or hazardous materials, there are environmentally responsible ways to dispose of them. Many municipalities have disposal centres and programs to help you understand when and where to dispose of these products. Visit the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) website for a list of municipalities.
Association of Municipalities of Ontario
You can also refer to Stewardship Ontario’s website for more information on some of the hazardous or special waste products that can be recycled in Ontario through the Orange Drop program.
You may be interested in the following resources on waste reduction and energy-efficiency.
- Top 60 Waste Reduction Tips for Business
- Sustainability: How to reap the benefits of going green
- IFMA Foundation’s Sustainability How-to Guides
- Ontario Environment Business Directory
- Bill Calculator: electricity or natural gas utilities - for small business consumers
- Environmental Claims: A Guide for Industry and Advertisers
You can also find books, magazines and other relevant print material at business service organizations in your community. To locate a Canada Business Ontario (CBO) community partner, contact us at 1-888-576-4444.