When you’re dealing with the narrow margins of retailing, one way to increase your profits  is by cutting your costs. “Going green ” in your retail store will not only help reduce expenses, but also boost your store’s image with customers . Here are 12 simple ideas for greening your retail store.
How to Green Your Retail Store
Switch Out Light Bulbs and Fixtures
Replace traditional light fixtures and bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) or LED lighting. Low-wattage T8 lights excel at providing directional lighting for displays. All of these options not only save energy but also last longer than old-fashioned light bulbs.
Install programmable lighting or sensors that turn on when someone enters a room. Sensors work well in store stockrooms, restrooms or dressing rooms where people frequently go in and out.
Use Natural Light When Possible
Take advantage of natural light in your store. Installing a skylight, while not always possible, can capture sunlight and almost eliminate the need for artificial lighting during daytime hours.
Install Programmable Thermostats
With programmable thermostats, you can set your store temperature to regulate automatically depending on the day and time. For example, in the summer you can set the temperature at a comfortable 72° when your store is open, but let it heat up to the 80s after the store closes. (Just be sure you set the programmable thermostat to give your store time to cool down before you open in the morning.) Keep stock rooms, offices and other areas where customers don’t go a bit cooler or warmer (depending on the season) than the store floor.
Maintain Your Heating and Cooling System
Perform regular checkups on your HVAC system, such as changing air filters frequently, or have your landlord do it.
Plug electronics into a power strip so you can turn them all off easily when you close for the night.
Use the Cloud
Switch to a cloud-based scheduling app so you won’t have to print out your schedule umpteen times. A digital time tracking system that lets employees clock in and out on a tablet or their phones eliminates the need for timecards or timesheets.
Whenever possible, pay vendors and suppliers online instead of mailing paper checks. Use direct deposit to pay your employees.
Offer Email Receipts
Give customers the option to get the receipt sent to them by email. (At the same time, you can ask them if they’d like to be added to your email list, which can help build your email marketing database.)
In more and more cities, disposable bags have been banned and retail stores must charge customers who want them in an effort to reduce plastic and paper waste. Even if this hasn’t happened in your city, you can still encourage shoppers to bring in their own reusable bags. Display attractive reusable bags near your point of sale for them to purchase.
Use Sustainable Materials
Whether it’s your store decor, shelving or displays, using sustainable materials demonstrates your commitment to going green. You can also use packaging and bags made from recycled paper or other waste.
Encourage Alternative Transport
Encourage your employees to take public transportation, carpool or ride bicycles to work. Make it easier by providing a secure storage space for bikes, or giving employees who carpool preferential parking spaces. Reward employees who use alternative transportation by giving them gift cards or small bonuses once a quarter.
New Light Bulb  Photo via Shutterstock