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Green consulting is a phrase used to describe a range of consulting services that are aimed at helping businesses become more ecologically friendly, or "green." Green consulting is a relatively new field, and its popularity is increasing quickly as more businesses see greening their business practices as a route to attracting new customers or retaining old customers. Greening a business can also in some cases help businesses to earn financial credits for being ecologically sustainable.
Green consulting can help a business lower its ecological footprint by looking at its operation and coming up with alternatives. For example, a green consulting firm may have experts in photovoltaics and other alternative energy systems on hand, who they can deploy to a site to design a supplementary alternative energy system, or a system using no fossil fuels whatsoever. In addition to helping a company green its image, this can also provide financial savings in the long term, and most green consulting firms push their services as money-saving measures as well as ethical decisions.
A green consulting company can also handle employee training and education, to ensure that a business’s workers are doing their part to contribute to the green identity of the company. Many green consulting firms offer retreats and workshops that businesses can send their employees to, where they will learn about everything from simple energy-saving tips, to recycling office materials properly, to a more overarching philosophy of conservation and reuse.
Green consulting can also encompass alternative business ideas that aren’t necessarily green, per se. For example, a number of green consulting firms offer Feng Shui services, helping companies redesign their office layouts to have a better flow. Others give nutritional awareness consultations, helping to switch food systems at larger institutions to offer healthier options, which may also be better for the environment.
One particularly big sector of green consulting in recent years has built up 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 rating service for buildings to let outsiders know how well the buildings rank in terms of various sustainability rubrics. The LEED system has become the most widely-recognized rating system for buildings, and many businesses looking at building new structures aim for one of the various levels of ranking. Green consulting firms that specialize in LEED can help these businesses make design decisions to gain the highest ranking they can.
The LEED ranking system looks at the quality of the indoor environment, what materials were used and where they were sourced from, water efficiency, the sustainability of the site, energy consumption and air quality, and the overall innovation demonstrated in the design. There are four levels of ranking, from a simple certification, which requires twenty-six points, to the platinum ranking, which requires fifty-two points.
There are, in fact, few things green consulting can’t refer to within the sphere of alternative building and business practices. Firms range in size from single consultants, usually specializing in going in to small- to mid-sized businesses to help them streamlining their green techniques, to massive groups with hundreds of employees, covering all areas of green expertise.
Green consulting is certainly paving way for the future entrepreneurs too. Through this unique expertise many worldwide businesses can be made green.