Energy efficiency seems to be trending in the business world. More and more companies have been making their customers eco-friendly promises by updating their packaging, revamping their processes, and transforming their buildings. However, like many business trends, the environmental movement can seem to leave the little guys behind.

Upfront costs and complex alterations might make eco-friendliness appear unattainable for small businesses. However, some sources that suggest even the smallest establishments can make changes that will both boost their profits and their overall sustainability. Here’s how.

Start Small

Unlike the big names of the business world, small companies often have fewer employees, smaller premises, and fewer products to distribute. Lower-scale operations mean that small businesses impact the environment less on the individual level; however, this also means that these businesses have a smaller budget to work with and cannot afford big eco-friendly transformations.

To overcome budget concerns, The Guardian recommends that small businesses make simple sustainable changes first. For example, efforts like powering down and even unplugging all computers at the end of the day can result in huge energy savings. Ensuring lights and electronics are off when not in use can also help a company save money through reducing monthly energy bills.

Think Long-Term

Many company leaders are put off by sustainability efforts due to their perceived costs. However, though some sustainable choices are expensive up front, these switches can save money over time.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory recommends inviting an energy auditor or contractor to come inspect your business premises. Simple renovations to buildings to boost energy efficiency can save money through reducing heating costs.

A huge array of updates can be cost-effective: replacing standard windows with energy efficient windows and doors can lower energy bills by 7 to 15%.

Some systems are even designed to bring heat that would otherwise be expelled back into a building. Heat recovery ventilation systems, for example, bring in fresh air without sacrificing warmth. A properly designed heat recovery unit can recover 50 to 90% of the heat that would have been lost. By choosing appliances and building materials made with energy-efficiency in mind, a company can help the planet and its profits.

Advertise Your Efforts

Consumers like to know that the goods and services they buy were produced ethically and without harming the environment. If you’ve recently made efforts to improve your company’s practices to be more sustainable and earth-friendly, let your customers know! You might be surprised by how well your dedication to the environment attracts new customers and fresh attention to your organization.

The Importance of Small Business

Since small businesses (those with less than 500 employees) make up 99.7% of all business in the U.S., these establishments might actually be a key factor in protecting the planet for future generations.

According to Green Tech Media, the energy efficiency potential of the 7 million U.S.-based small businesses is “enormous.” Efforts from small companies could conserve both 1.07 quadrillion Btu (British thermal units) of site energy and more than $30 billion annually. And so, not only is it possible for small businesses to go green, but it is essential to developing a more efficient and sustainable society. In this case, the little guys can actually make a big difference