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Choose a green New Year's resolution

Many of us make New Year's resolutions or plans for our businesses every year to help us achieve our financial goals or to improve our services/products for our customers. Businesses usually don't think of "going green" as a resolution that can achieve some of these goals, but they can. This year, make a pledge to consider opportunities to green your business to reduce costs, increase efficiency and provide new or improved greener services or products.

Here are some resolutions that can place you on the path to becoming a greener business:

1. Get an energy audit to help identify savings opportunities and connect you with utility energy-efficiency programs to help pay for any upgrades.

2. If you have a programmable thermostat, use it. Through proper use of pre-programmed settings, a programmable thermostat can save you about $180 every year in energy costs.

Tip: Program the temperature to lower (winter) or raise (summer) by just 2 to 3 degrees when no one is in the office, but make sure to bring the temperature up/down a couple hours before anyone will be using the space.

3. Examine all waste generated by your business and look for ways any waste products can be reused on-site or by other businesses, eliminated or radically reduced. Brainstorm with employees who are involved in the generation of the waste for fresh ideas.

Incorporating green practices can even support your customers' green New Year's resolutions. Does your product use sustainable or recycled materials? Can it help people save energy? Is it organic or from a local source? Emphasize green aspects of your products to appeal to this consumer group.

Best of luck this year in finding your business's green resolution and know that we're here to help.

The Illinois Green Business Association is a nonprofit organization in Champaign that offers certification and green business services. You can contact the IGBA via their website at www.illinoisGBA.org or call them at 217-531-2179.

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