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Red Sox Go Green, and So Can You

The Red Sox are headed to the World Series, thanks to an 11-2 trouncing of the Cleveland Indians in the final game of the American League Championship Series. But the Sox aren't just making news on the sports pages. They've also recently announced a major initiative aimed at making their business more environmentally friendly.

By 2012, fans at Fenway will munch local hot dogs and locally grown organic produce under energy-efficient lights while drinking local beer in cornstarch-based cups. The club is even considering installing solar panels to reduce the electricity it draws from power plants.

Those efforts come on top of existing initiatives to use nontoxic cleaning products and to recycle: The club so far this season has recycled 10 tons of cardboard, saving an estimated 170 mature trees, 4,600 gallons of oil, 70,000 gallons of water and 41,000 kilowatt hours of electricity.

Think your company is too small to be able to afford such a move? Well, think again. Here are a few things you can do to make your operation environmentally friendly and save money:

Reduce Your Energy Use

Start by upgrading your lighting. Replace any incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lights, or CFLs. These are more expensive than standard incandescent bulbs, but they pay off in the long run. A typical CFL uses about a third of the electricity of an incandescent bulb, and lasts 10 times longer. By replacing one 75-watt incandescent bulb with an 18-watt CFL, you'll use about 570 kWh less electricity over the bulb's lifetime -- saving about $45 for just one bulb.

You can also increase the efficiency of your lighting by installing reflectors on fluorescent fixtures and switching to energy-efficient exit signs. If your employees occasionally forget to turn off the lights when they leave a room -- or if they don't even know where the light switches are --consider installing timers or motion sensors, especially in places such as restrooms and supply closets that aren't always occupied.

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