Tips for a greener business

Table of contents

Save energy
Reduce waste
Additional resources


Many business owners look for ways to reduce their energy costs and minimize their impact on the environment. You can make small changes in your business to promote a healthier planet. This guide provides tips and resources to help you make your business a greener one.

For additional information and resources, visit the Canada Business Environment and business page.

Save energy

Using less energy can cut down on your energy costs and lower greenhouse gas emissions. You can take these simple steps to cut down on your energy use:

  • Use electricity at off-peak times: Smart meters and time-of-use pricing can save you money. Energy at mid- and off-peak hours may cost less.
  • Unplug electronics that you aren’t using: Computers, photocopiers and other electronic products use small amounts of energy when they are plugged in. Use a power bar to make it easier to turn them off.
  • Choose energy-efficient products: ENERGY STAR ® appliances and compact fluorescent light bulbs use less electricity. Using energy-efficient products will lower your energy costs.
  • Train your staff to conserve energy: Talk to your staff about saving energy and create a plan that includes temperature control and proper lighting.

Programs, incentives and rebates

There are incentives and rewards for businesses that cut down on their energy use, including:

Save on energy

You may be eligible for energy savings or free products to help your small business save electricity. Current programs include:

  • Retrofit program
    Provides incentives for replacing inefficient equipment with energy efficient equipment.
  • High performance new construction
    Offers design assistance and incentives for building owners and architects who exceed the electricity efficiency standards specified in the Ontario Building Code.
  • Demand response
    Compensates participating businesses for reducing energy consumption during specific times.

Search online:
Identify your local electric utility

Incentive programs search

You can use the Ministry of Energy’s website to search for additional incentive programs to help you lower your energy use.

Read online:
Incentive programs for business

Ontario energy-saving incentives and programs tool

Use this tool to find Ontario energy-saving incentives. Simply click on ‘my Small Business’ or ‘my Organization’ and enter your postal code.

Use online:
Green Ontario Fund 

Workplace Electric Vehicle Charging Incentive Program

If you are planning to buy or lease level 2 electric vehicle chargers for your employees or for workplace tenants in a commercial building you manage, you may be eligible for a contribution of up to $7,500 per charging space to a maximum of 50 per year. Your installations need to:

  • Be in Ontario
  • Be in good repair and open year-round
  • Be kept for at least 5 years

You need to:

  • Have a Canada Revenue Agency business number
  • Be providing spaces for 10 or more employees

Other conditions apply.

Contact Ministry of Transportation
Workplace Electric Vehicle Charging Incentive Program

Green Commercial Vehicles Program

If you choose new alternative fuel trucks or fuel saving devices you could be eligible for 15% to 50% of their purchase costs or 30% to 50% of their purchase and installation costs respectively. Your commercial trucks need to:

  • Weigh 4,536 kg or more (classes 3 to 8)
  • Be registered, plated and insured in Ontario

You need to: 

  • Be located and operating in Ontario
  • Have a Canada Revenue Agency business number
  • Hold a qualifying Commercial Vehicle Operators fleet safety rating

Other conditions apply.

Contact Ministry of Transportation

Read online:
Green Commercial Vehicles Program

Reduce waste

You may be able to lower your business supply costs and help the environment by cutting down on the amount of waste your business creates.

Examples of common office waste are:

  • Paper
  • Staples and paper clips
  • Toner and printer cartridges

Some easy steps you can take to reduce your office waste are:

  • Use email and computer documents instead of printing
  • Switch to recycled or reusable office products
  • Recycle as many items as possible
  • Use less paper by printing on both sides of the page

For information on pollution and waste prevention, visit the Environment and Climate Change Canada website.

Read online:
Pollution prevention

Electronic waste

When new technology replaces old technology, you are left with unused computers, laptops, cell phones, tablets and photocopiers. You can reduce the amount of electronic waste that ends up in landfills by recycling and reusing your electronics.

Learn more about recycling your electronic waste from the Ontario Electronic Stewardship (OES).

Contact OES:

Hazardous materials and chemical waste

If your business works with chemicals or hazardous materials, there are environmentally responsible ways to dispose of them. Many municipalities have disposal centres and programs to help you understand when and where to dispose of these products. Visit the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) website for a list of municipalities.

Read online:
Association of Municipalities of Ontario

You can also refer to Stewardship Ontario’s website for more information on some of the hazardous or special waste products that can be recycled in Ontario through the Orange Drop program.

Read Online:
Stewardship Ontario - Municipal hazardous or special waste

Additional resources

You may be interested in the following resources on waste reduction and energy-efficiency.

You can also find books, magazines and other relevant print material at business service organizations in your community. To locate a Canada Business Ontario (CBO) community partner, contact us at 1-888-576-4444.