What is Green Consulting?

Consultants can give companies options that make their procedures better for the environment.

Green consulting is a phrase used to describe a range of consulting services that aim to help companies become more environmentally friendly, or “green”. Green consulting is a relatively new field and its popularity is rapidly increasing as more companies see greening their business practices as a way to attract new clients or retain old clients. In some cases, greening a company can also help companies get financial credit for being ecologically sustainable.

Green consulting firms can encourage companies to recycle.

Green consulting can help a company reduce its ecological footprint by examining its operation and proposing alternatives. For example, a green consulting firm may have experts in photovoltaics and other alternative energy systems available that can be deployed at a site to design a supplemental alternative energy system or a system that does not use any type of fossil fuel. In addition to helping a company to green its image, this can also provide financial savings in the long run, and most green consulting firms promote their services as both money-saving measures and ethical decisions as well.

Green consultants can help building owners and tenants design their workspaces to minimize energy use.

A green consulting firm can also handle employee training and education, to ensure that a company’s workers are doing their part to contribute to the company’s green identity. Many eco-consulting firms offer retreats and workshops that companies can send their employees to, where they will learn about everything from simple energy-saving tips to proper recycling of office supplies and a broader philosophy of conservation and reuse.

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Green consulting can also encompass alternative business ideas that are not necessarily green in and of themselves. For example, several green consulting firms offer Feng Shui services, helping companies redesign the layout of their offices for better flow. Others conduct nutrition awareness consultations, helping to change food systems at larger institutions to offer healthier options that may also be better for the environment.

A particularly large sector of green consulting in recent years has developed around the LEED certification system. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System was created by the US Green Building Council and acts as a building rating service to let outsiders know how well buildings rank in terms of various sustainability headings. The LEED system has become the most widely recognized rating system for buildings, and many companies looking to build new structures pursue one of several rating levels. Green consulting firms specializing in LEED can help these companies make design decisions to achieve the highest possible rating.

The LEED rating system looks at the quality of the indoor environment, what materials were used and where they were sourced from, water efficiency, site sustainability, energy consumption and air quality, and the overall innovation demonstrated in the design. There are four levels of rating, from a simple certification, which requires twenty-six points, to a platinum rating, which requires fifty-two points.

In fact, there are few things that green consulting cannot refer to in the realm of alternative building and business practices. Companies range in size from individual consultants, often specializing in entering small and medium-sized businesses to help them optimize their green techniques, to huge groups with hundreds of employees covering all areas of green expertise.

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