Going green is something that businesses need to embrace to foster sustainable practices, benefit the environment and appease increasingly eco-conscious shareholders.

Although the whole idea of "environmentalism" and "going green" can be a little nebulous and tough to pin down, there are a few easily implemented strategies that small businesses can take in the next week to be more environmentally-friendly.

Plug Up the Leaks

Both the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Small Business Administration recommend making businesses more energy-efficient by plugging up any energy inefficiencies.

In practical terms this means that small business owners should ensure that their HVAC systems are working properly. Getting periodic checks from an HVAC professional, or checking vents for clogs yourself, can lower annual energy expenses and benefit the environment over time.

Masters of Science in Green Technology

If you're really looking to increase your business' long-term sustainability and profitability, then you might want to look into an online masters in green technology.

A higher degree in green technology can teach any business owner or property manager more about sourcing and conservation.

Fueling your business with more efficient and sustainable energy sources and ensuring toxic materials are disposed of properly can drive profits and shareholder trust far into the future.

Window Film for Lower Expenses

Another way to ensure that a building is energy-efficient is to install window film to windows that get pummeled by the sun's rays throughout the typical workday.

This makes a lot of sense in light of the fact that up to two-thirds of energy costs are squandered because of poorly insulated windows.

You can keep heat in your building during the winter and cool air circulating during the balmy summer months by installing a window film or planting some trees around your building to provide a little more shade.

Turn on the Lights!

Switching the lights on might seem like a counter intuitive way of reducing energy expenses, but businesses certainly increase their profitability by switching from traditional, incandescent bulbs to more efficient ones.

The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that CFL bulbs use one-fourth as much energy and may last up to 1,000 percent longer than regular incandescent bulbs.

By installing CFL bulbs throughout your office or small business, you might be spending more money in the short term on the CFL bulbs, but you'll save potentially hundreds of dollars over a decade by going green.

Waste Not, Want Not

If you're managing a small business or acting as a project manager for a piece of real estate, then asking your employees to go paperless could help to move your business in a green direction overnight.

Consumers around the country are already paying their bills and navigating their energy expenses electronically. Making the same changes in the workplace saves hassle, time and money in the short term and ingratiates you to shareholders over the long haul.

Benefits of Going Green

Making environmentally-friendly choices is nowhere near as vague or complicated as it's made out to be. You can make many of the above changes in the next week by outfitting a few offices with window film or changing a few incandescent bulbs to CFL ones in your home or office.

Author's Bio: 

My name is Lizzie Weakley and I am a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. I went to college at The Ohio State University where I studied communications. I enjoy the outdoors and long walks in the park with my 3-year-old husky Snowball.