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Reducing your carbon footprint is one of the most effective steps you can take to lessen your impact on the environment. Your building likely has areas that can be improved upon; commercial buildings are some of the greatest offenders of pollution simply due to the amount of energy they use on a daily basis. Here are a few ways to reduce the carbon footprint of your building and increase its property valuation. 1. Upgrade your systems. If your HVAC system hasn't been switched out in some time, it's likely time for an upgrade. Air conditioners and furnaces are only meant to last between 10 to 15 years at best; even if you can extend the lifespan longer than that, you'll spend more in repair costs. Upgrading might seem like a costly initial expense, but newer systems are more energy efficient. Not only does this mean you'll use less energy and preserve the environment more, but you'll also save money – most likely enough to pay for the cost of purchasing a new system. 2. Employ 'green' power. Another way to reduce costs in your company and protect the environment is to make use of 'green' power. By collecting rainwater on your building, you can reduce the water costs you accrue. Attaching solar panels can almost completely eliminate your power bill and further reduce the amount of energy needed to run your systems. If you're in the proper area, geothermal energy can be used to heat the building during winter. Not only do all of these sources pull from the earth, eliminating any carbon output, but they are very cost effective. 3. Find out where energy may be escaping. If your office building is prone to open windows, hold a meeting concerning proper energy usage. Make sure all employees turn off the lights when they are finished in an area. Ensure no devices are left plugged in that use 'phantom power,' and educate your staff on the importance of closing windows or turning off the thermostat. By ensuring that everyone does their part, you can greatly reduce the amount of energy it takes to keep a building comfortable. 4. Eliminate paper. Your employees will love you for it, and so will the environment. Unless something absolutely must be printed out, make a 'digital only' rule concerning documents. Keep all inter-office communication strictly through email, and inform the businesses you work with of your endeavor. You might inspire them to make a change, and at the very least, it will reduce the amount of paperwork your employees have to sort through on a daily basis. 5. Encourage workers to bring their lunch. Less trips to the restaurant mean less carbon emissions from driving. If workers bring their lunches, then they don't have to leave and get in their vehicles. This will also increase office morale and companionship, something sorely lacking from most modern offices. Reducing your carbon footprint isn't a difficult task, but it is one that can have major effects in the years to come. Not only do these steps help keep the Earth healthier, but it increases the property valuation of your building. You can learn more about property valuation here.