Managing stormwater effectively can be an asset to your business by saving you money long-term, protecting your property from flood damage, and attracting customers. Green infrastructure techniques such as permeable pavement, tree plantings, and natural landscaping not only manage stormwater where it falls–they also reduce energy bills and beautify properties. Using native plants to cut back some turf grass areas can provide wildlife habitat and water quality benefits, and decrease the weekly maintenance costs that come with mowing. Additionally, adding a rain barrel to your downspout can save you money on water bills if you use the captured rain to water your plants. Many practices that homeowners can implement (some of which are outlined at the Reduce Your Stormwater website) can be scaled up and used for your business.
Research has shown that shoppers stay longer and spend more money in tree-lined, nicely landscaped shopping areas. As you think about adding BMPs to your business, you can also consider educating the public by displaying informational signs next to your BMPs. This will attract customers who care about sustainability and the environment–a growing demographic that wields significant spending power.
There are many other ways to “go green” as a business aside from innovative stormwater management. Recycling and reusing materials, evaluating your energy efficiency, and a plethora of other small changes can be both economically and environmentally profitable. “Being green” and offering opportunities for staff members to volunteer for outdoor environmental projects helps with team strengthening and provides the satisfaction of making a difference. These activities may also be attractive in the recruitment of employees, especially professionals who are most interested in working for businesses with the broader mission to better their local communities. Visit the resources below for additional information.
WaterSense at Work (an EPA partnership) includes a compilation of water-efficiency best management practices to help commercial and institutional facilities understand and better manage their water use, help facilities establish an effective water management program, and identify projects and practices that can reduce facility water use.
Water Use It Wisely for Offices has compiled over a hundred tips and small adjustments that, together, can have a big impact on water conservation.
Businesses for the Bay is a membership-based program of the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay that encourages businesses to take voluntary and measurable actions to support the protection and restoration of local waterways in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.