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10 Ways to Go Green in Self-Storage and Reduce Your Business Carbon Footprint

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By Bryn Huntpalmer

More than ever before, converting to green practices in self-storage is as much a smart business move as it is an ethical stance. Companies that are willing to shrink their carbon footprint can save money while building trust with customers. Though initially there may be financial sacrifices that affect your bottom line, the right kind of changes will ultimately increase prosperity and improve your public image. Here are 10 ways to “go green.”

1. Perform a Commercial Energy Audit

You can take wild stabs at cutting your energy use and hope for the best, but it’s hard to patch up holes without knowing where they are. You may throw away money to fix an issue that isn’t much of a problem, while the culprit air leak or inefficient HVAC system gets off the hook. Performing an energy audit will help determine your energy weaknesses and how best to allocate resources for improvements. Even if you’re not yet sold on the idea that going green will save money, an energy audit will show where you can shave costs.

2. Add Motion-Sensor Lights

You want your facility to be well-lit and safe for customers at any time, but lighting empty hallways and units can lead to quite a bit of wasted energy. Motion-sensor lights solve this problem. In addition, using LEDs will ensure your bulbs use less energy and require less frequent replacement. There’s no downside to automating your lights and updating to more efficient bulbs.

3. Use Seasonal Climate Control

Your customers are protective of their belongings, and with reason. Shielding their personal possessions from heat and cold is essential. But there’s no reason to waste energy to heat or cool a storage space during a season of stable temperatures. Consider installing an energy-efficient system that only kicks in when the temperature rises or falls to an extreme degree.

4. Install Solar Panels

Once you’ve cut your energy load by making your facility more energy-efficient, consider installing solar panels. Because of their simple architecture and few obstructions (i.e., tall trees), most self-storage facilities have a solar-friendly layout. With a smart setup, you can produce more energy than your facility uses. Depending on local and utility regulations, you may be able to sell the excess clean energy you’ve produced back to the grid and earn profit.

5. Use Low-VOC Paints and Finishes

Businesses tend to focus on energy efficiency because it saves money, but there are other important aspects to being green. Most building finishes and paints contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which lower indoor air quality and pose health and environmental risks. If your facility is full of VOCs and gets little ventilation, the toxic vapors will permanently attach themselves to customers’ belongings. Instead of getting the standard products for your property, look for low- or no-VOC products.

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