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On Sep 09 2019 / by Wyoming Paul

3 simple ways to save money while reducing your business’s environmental footprint

Greening your business is easier, quicker, and cheaper than you think

Reducing your business’s environmental footprint might seem like a complicated, time-consuming, and expensive task - but happily, that’s not the case. There are plenty of actions that you can take which both save money and reduce your business’s environmental footprint. Also, reports by Nielsen and Harris Interactive found that businesses which promote their sustainability practices and values experience increased public awareness, purchasing, and customer loyalty.

If you’re wondering why a parking app is telling you about environmental impact, here’s the thing: we believe in less car parks and more green spaces, and using what we’ve got. Plus, we’re a small business that has implemented a bunch of these changes ourselves, and we believe that businesses have a lot of power (and, to quote Spider-Man, therefore a lot of responsibility) to create a more sustainable world.

To fund some changes that require a bit of investment, Parkable can help: if you have a parking space that isn’t used 24/7, you can earn revenue to cover your greening costs. It’s a win-win, really - use your resources better and make your business greener! Find out how much you could earn from your car park by clicking here.

1. Conserve energy

By making a few small changes and getting your staff into better habits, you can cut your energy bill drastically - some estimate by up to a third. Because energy use is a major contributor to the carbon footprint of most businesses, this has a big environmental benefit, too.

  1. When your light bulbs need replacing, choose LED. They last for up to 50,000 hours (five times longer than any other light bulbs), and use 90% less energy. That means fewer replacement costs, and big energy savings. To learn more about light bulbs and the potential savings over time, click here!
  2. Encourage staff to turn off lights and devices when they aren’t being used, as well as closing doors and windows when heating is on. You can also follow Parkable’s lead and install timers, so that heating or air conditioning isn’t running all night (or all weekend!) if people forget to turn it off.
  3. When you have a meeting with someone out of the office, use video conferencing when possible. You’ll save time, fuel, and carbon emissions.
  4. Switch to an energy provider that only uses renewable electricity. In New Zealand, Ecotricity is a good place to look, and in Australia, check out Diamond Energy or Powershop. At Parkable’s Auckland office we use Sunergise, who designed and installed our office solar panels, and is Oceania’s leader in solar energy.

If you want to invest in some extra measures that will reduce your energy bill for years to come, a few good places to start are...

  1. Double glazing for your windows.
  2. Extra insulation, including under floors.
  3. Energy-efficient appliances like A+ rated fridges, dishwashers, and heat pumps.

2. Create greener, cheaper commutes

If your staff are driving to and from work each day, that can add up to a lot of carbon emissions. Every litre of petrol produces 2.5kg of greenhouse gases, and transport is a huge contributor to global emissions, with road-based travel alone making up 35.7% of the emissions in Auckland, and transport producing 18% of the emissions in Australia. Basically, any steps that you can take to green your staff’s commuting makes a huge difference. Plus, for businesses covering the cost of either leasing a staff car park or paying for on-street parking, it can be a huge annual cost. Here are some suggestions for greening your business’s collective commute, and reducing your parking costs:

  • Depending on your business, some of your staff may be able to work remotely. With cloud-based technology and free conferencing software like Zoom, remote work has become efficient and easy. As well as the major environmental benefit - less commuting means less carbon emissions - offering staff the opportunity to work from home can reduce turnover, increase productivity, and save you money.
  • Encourage cycling, walking, and taking public transport. If you lead by example, your staff are more likely to follow.
  • Introduce a staff carpooling scheme, and get people on board by making it easy to organise and providing incentives. Organise carpooling through a shared Google doc or Facebook group, or look into ride-sharing apps like Kapuddle in Australia and Smart Travel in New Zealand. If you have limited staff parking bays, incentives could include ‘carpooling only’ bays, or if staff pay for their parking, free parking for carpoolers.
  • For those who are driving into work, make the commute as quick as possible by using Parkable. A whopping 30-40% of urban congestion is caused by drivers searching for a park, and that’s a key reason why Parkable has ‘book in advance’ - if people know that a parking spot is waiting for them, they can cut out a lot of circling the block. In fact, each person can reduce their carbon footprint by 227kg of greenhouse gases every year simply by ending the search around the block. Click here to learn more about how Parkable reduces congestion, and here if you want to implement these changes across your business.

Brody Nelson, Parkable co-founder and CTO, on his e-bike!

3. Buy pre-loved

From time to time, things simply need to be replaced - your computer calls it quits, your work car breaks down, or a customer spills so much coffee on your carpet that it’s just gotta go. Rather than buying a brand new replacement, look into second-hand versions - you’ll save a lot of money, and give quality goods a longer life-cycle, saving them from being binned.

If you’re in a place to invest in the future, you could also choose an option that’s more expensive now, but will be cheaper in the long-run.

  • Vehicles: TradeMe and Gumtree are your friends. Keep an eye out for pre-loved vehicles in good condition, and if you want to invest now and eliminate fuel costs from your future, consider a second-hand hybrid or an EV like the Nissan Leaf.
  • Tech equipment: Buy refurbished tech from companies like GoodTech and Reboot IT to save money - and get on the reduce, reuse, recycle wagon.
  • Furniture: For all sorts, check out All Heart NZ, a charity that repurposes used business equipment and puts the proceeds toward helping Pacific communities. In Australia, try Sustainable Office Solutions for quality salvaged furniture.
  • And the carpet?: Yep, you can buy that second-hand on TradeMe and Gumtree, too!

*Bonus ideas

These suggestions don’t necessarily sit in the ‘save money’ box, but we think they’re worth noting because they’re either free or affordable, and have a big environmental impact.

  • Compost! An estimated 45% of household waste that ends up in landfills is food, so a great way to reduce your business’s waste is through composting. If you don’t have an outdoor area for a big compost bin, either look into compost collection services near you or check out indoor bokashi bins.
  • Reduce your plastic. If you have a cafe or restaurant, this might include offering Again Again reusable takeaway cups, saying no to plastic straws, giving small discounts for BYO containers, and swapping to compostable takeaway containers. For retailers, use recycled paper for bags, gift-wrapping, and packaging. Whatever your business, there will be ways to use less plastic.
  • Brainstorm with your team. Plenty of people are engaged with how to live more sustainably, so your staff might have some great ideas. At Parkable, it was a staff member who came up with the idea for our shared lunches, which (as well as giving everyone delicious, healthy, cheap lunches and time to bond as a team) was designed to reduce our lunchtime packaging and introduce everyone to vegetarian meals.

The Parkable office's compost and recycling bins, ft. an array of our reusable cups!

Like these ideas?

If you want to go the extra mile in reducing your business’s carbon footprint (and make some upfront investments for long-term savings), Parkable can help. By listing your underused parking bays on the Parkable app, you could subsidise the switch to an energy-efficient fridge, extra insulation, or even an electric work car.

To find out more about hosting with Parkable, click here!

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