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Going Green Can Enhance Profitability

The economy is in recession, stocks are down, business is down, consumer confidence is down, yada, yada, yada. We all know these things by now, right? Most of us have seen the rental business survive and conquer a recession before. And it will again. But in the meantime, why not adopt a new purpose in your business, one that can give employees something positive to focus on and help company owners achieve some cost savings simultaneously? Chances are that you're not as busy as you were a year or two ago, and right now just might be the perfect time to start taking small steps to improve your company's sustainability initiatives.

That's right, I'm suggesting you consider going green. You've heard the buzz, you know the green movement is building steam, why not jump on board now? Earth Day is right around the corner — April 22.

Scottsdale, Ariz.-based RSC Equipment Rental recently announced it will roll out its sustainability campaign to employees in conjunction with Earth Day. The company has implemented multiple green initiatives such as installing e-glass, insta-hot water heaters, T-5 lighting, occupancy sensors on lighting, cool roof technology and upgraded insulation in its newly opened locations. In addition, the company has retrofitted its existing locations with T-5 lighting, HVAC upgrades and has used local yard rock instead of shipping it in from a great distance and using unnecessary fuel.

RSC Equipment also has a number of ongoing sustainability initiatives at its branch locations and corporate offices. The company recycles paper, cans, cardboard, steel, batteries, cell phones and other electronics. It also encourages its employees to recycle oil, lubricants and water, and to assign someone to audit the amount of waste the branch location creates and determine the costs associated with that waste.

Most rental companies will find multiple areas where business operations can be improved and made more sustainable. Beyond doing what's right for the planet, the added benefit is generally a significant financial savings, particularly when done as a series of steps over time.

According to RSC Equipment Rental corporate communications specialist, Heather Schlichting, the company's Garland, Texas, branch implemented a green plan in 2008 to help reduce energy use and save money. By retrofitting its current location with a few key sustainable building materials such as low-flow toilets, new water heaters, CFL light bulbs and digital thermostats, and developing a process to increase its recycling efforts, the location reduced energy expenditures and reduced waste to the tune of an $11,000 cost savings over a 12-month period. $11,000. Significant savings indeed.

There are dozens of ways for a rental company to reduce energy consumption, reduce waste, reduce its carbon footprint, and effect a positive environmental and cost-saving change on the planet and its bottom line. Check out the upcoming cover story in the April issue of RER magazine, which will arrive in your mailboxes soon or online at, to learn more about what other rental companies are doing to go green and what steps you can start implementing in your rental business now.

Setting a sustainability plan and taking steps to reduce waste and improve efficiency can be a lucrative boost to profitability — a worthy purpose to consider in the current economy.

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