Environmental sustainability

The automotive service industry is connected on many levels to global environmental sustainability. Without the service industry vehicles would create more air pollution, there would likely be more water pollution from waste being improperly disposed of, and natural resource consumption would increase. Your organization is very connected to the environmental sustainability at the local level as well. More importantly, to you, is the fact that what you do in terms of environmental sustainability connects to your customer and ultimately your financial sustainability.

I’m not going to make the case here that everyone should become a tree hugger or environmentalist. I will make the case however that in terms of sustainability, what you do that affects the environment has a direct effect on the financial sustainability of your business, your customers, and your employees. Environmental sustainability relates to everything you do from waste disposal, to electricity usage, to water consumption.

Think about this. Every aspect of your business that affects the environment costs you money. The electricity you use, that came from burning coal, oil, or splitting atoms costs you money every month. The water you consume, at least in most areas, costs you money each month. The waste you have to get rid of costs you money. The more dangerous to the environment that waste is, the more it costs you.

Therefore, taking care of the environment will result in fewer expenses and thus stronger financial sustainability. Even if you don’t give the environment a thought, you can still do something that increases the overall sustainability of your business. Pay attention to your electricity usage, water usage, and energy efficiency of your building.

Most public utilities offer free energy audits. This is a great place to begin saving yourself some money. Sure, some resource saving measures will cost you in terms of capital but don’t forget to look for the return on your investment. Replacing lighting in the shop with more energy efficient lighting can be expensive, but it might even increase your technician’s productivity thus making you more money. Installing natural lighting can not only reduce electricity usage but can improve attitudes as well.

Fixing leaky faucets or hoses will save money on the water bill and greatly reduce water usage. If you’re considering a building renovation look into rapid open/close overhead doors. In areas of the country where winter cold is a factor these doors can save a ton on your heating bill. Just installing remote control door openers so that technicians can open and close doors without getting out of the vehicle can result in lowered energy costs.

Whatever energy, water, or waste saving efforts you make, be sure to capitalize on all of it by marketing the fact that you care. Even if you don’t really care (and we all should), your customers care. If you’re going to spend the money because it will save you money in the end, because it’s the right thing to do, or because part of you is a tree hugger, then maximize your efforts by letting your customers know!

Begin with a free energy audit and go from there. Even doing the little things will make a big difference in your organization’s overall sustainability.

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