What Are the Different Types of Green Business Ideas?

Alicia Sparks

Entrepreneurs can develop green business ideas by first determining the kind of businesses in which they’re most interested. Generally, whether they’re based on providing a service or creating a product, all business ideas have room for green improvements. Some entrepreneurs can even go into business for themselves by acting as consultants for other companies that want to become greener. Of course, green business ideas aren’t limited to new businesses. Existing companies can implement greener, more environmentally friendly features and still provide the same or similar products and services.

Green taxi services use hybrid vehicles.
Green taxi services use hybrid vehicles.

An entrepreneur interested in any type of service industry can think of green business ideas that will help him provide that service as environmentally friendly as possible. For example, a prospective hotel owner might make his hotel solar-powered and equipped with water-efficient plumbing. Likewise, an aspiring restaurateur might choose to serve meals made with organic ingredients only and energy-efficient appliances. Other green business ideas for the service industry include opening a business that handles curbside recycling pickup, cleaning crew companies that use green cleaning products, and taxi services that use electric or hybrid vehicles.

A green consulting business can help an entrepreneur become aware of environmentally friendly options.
A green consulting business can help an entrepreneur become aware of environmentally friendly options.

Some green business ideas are more ideal for an entrepreneur who is planning a business based on product creation. For example, the entrepreneur might create an organic cosmetics line or environmentally friendly cleaning products. On a larger scale, some businesses might use reclaimed wood and other construction materials to build residential and commercial buildings.

Providing energy audits is one type of green business.
Providing energy audits is one type of green business.

Entrepreneurs who are knowledgeable about green business ideas can work as consultants for new or existing businesses. A green consulting business can help an entrepreneur who’s planning a business become aware of environmentally friendly options. The exact ideas will depend on the nature of the business, but some common examples include suggesting the company install energy- and water-efficient appliances and fixtures, using reclaimed materials for new construction, and partially or completely powering the offices with solar power.

On that note, these days it’s possible for most existing companies to take steps to make themselves more environmentally friendly. Some of the most popular ways existing businesses can go green include operating almost entirely online and allowing employees to telecommute. Many businesses provide their employees with electronic or direct deposit payroll options to avoid using the ink, paper, and mail services associated with printed checks. Companies can include discounts on public transportation in their benefits packages. Other ways existing businesses can become greener include placing recycling bins in employee lounges or cafeterias, replacing paper towel dispensers with hand dryers, and using recycled paper.

Using recycled paper products is one way to go green.
Using recycled paper products is one way to go green.

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Discussion Comments


@indigomoth - In fact someone interested in that might be better off scrapping the existing house on a bit of land altogether and building a new house. You'd be able to better incorporate green living principals and give the buyer more for their money.

Of course, if you did that, it would be a lot more expensive for you and it wouldn't really be a small job. It's not like you could live in the house, either, you'd have to have alternative accommodation.

But as a green business idea, it's certainly got some potential. I think there are already companies out there that do this.


@bythewell - That's not a bad idea, but before anyone does it they'd really need to research whether people are willing to pay extra to live in that kind of house.

I mean, aside from the fluctuations of the housing market, you'd also be looking at putting up the cost by quite a lot, without changing the neighborhood or I assume the essential look of the house itself. In fact, with solar panels you might even make it look worse.

It's nice to think that people are willing to pay extra to be environmentally friendly, but when it comes to having to pay more on a mortgage they might not be so happy about it.

Definitely do your research before you start.


Personally, if I had the money, I would go into business buying up older houses and outfitting them with the latest in green living.

It's entirely possible to make houses now that contribute more to the power grid than they take off it, so the owner will actually be making money.

You might not be able to go that far, but you'd certainly be able to do a fair amount, putting on solar panels, perhaps a wind turbine (although that calls for a rather specific area) and installing energy efficient heat pumps.

If you were doing it small scale and living in the house while you renovate it, you might even be able to get grants from the government to help you out, since they are generally keen for people to do this kind of thing.

It would cost a lot of money up front in order to get started though, as most of these sorts of things pay off over the long run and have a huge initial cost.

You'd have to make sure you would be able to sell the house for a profit at the end of it.

But, it would feel so good to be working with your hands to make the world a better place.

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