Yurich Creative, a finalist in the Green Plus Sole Proprietor / Home Based Business Category, is also eligible to win the Green Plus People’s Choice Award. When Beth and Dennis Yurich started Yurich Creative in 1997, they were determined to create their own space within the marketing industry. Initially, working in an industry laden with excess and designed to drive consumerism concerned the owners of this Cleveland-based marketing communications design firm. They then set out to run Yurich differently.
Yurich Creative incorporates sustainability and energy efficiency measures in their services on multiple levels. “Many companies simply have too many pieces, which creates excess waste. We figure out what our clients really need and redesign the program,” says Beth Yurich. Through what the owners call a green audit, Yurich accesses the environmental impact of a client’s existing pieces and then redesigns to maximize message impact and minimize the use of materials and energy. The redesign also follows guidelines for responsible print design including material selection, production, and printing.
As a home-based business, Yurich tackled operational energy efficiency somewhat differently than a traditional office-based business. For Beth and Dennis, the benefit of working from home was the flexibility and freedom to design a multi-use energy efficient space. Plus, by reducing energy consumption and utility expenses, the owners saved in two ways, both professionally and personally.
In 2005 the Yurichs moved their business, and they purposely picked a home that needed renovating so they could redesign the space. They took advantage of appliance credits and installed energy efficient appliances and a programmable thermostat. With the move, Beth and Dennis downsized by 1,400 square feet. About the renovation, Beth says, “If you look at your square footage and what you need, you can get creative and save a lot of money.” Since moving and installing new equipment, the owners estimate their annual energy costs have decreased by $1,300. “We’ve never taken out a loan to do this work,” Beth explained. “If you do things in steps and you have a plan, you will experience the benefits and can do more in the future.”
Their ability to create a practical multi-use space for themselves has also turned into a business opportunity. Yurich was recently hired to help a client find a cost effective and functional office space to accommodate the business’ nearly 30 employees. Following Yurich’s advice, the client now operates out of a compact space with smaller offices and large multipurpose common areas. Not only is the business saving money and reducing its environmental impact, but the employees are happier, and the new environment makes them more social and interactive.
Business travel and transportation presented Yurich with another opportunity for energy saving solutions. Several years ago, Beth and Dennis regularly traveled across the country for client meetings. Now they hold meetings virtually and train clients to use video conferencing and Skype, a change which Yurich’s clients appreciate because it saves them money and time. Beth also consolidates all of her Cleveland-area meetings into one day a week and plans them in close proximity to each other. Just last year, Beth put 5,000 less miles on her vehicle, saving on gas and vehicle wear and tear.
Beth and Dennis encourage other businesses to follow suit and reduce waste and energy usage, and they have found that, by incorporating sustainability more fully into their services, their clients are happier and more apt to refer them, referrals are more solid referrals, and they are introduced to more long-term clients and more sophisticated clients.
Yurich’s advice to other home-based businesses? Start small, experiment, and be creative.
Size: 2 employees
Space: 1,540 sq ft
Ideas from Yurich Creative
- Use Skype and online conferencing for meetings
- Diversify your travel methods: walk, use a bike, scooter, and public transit for local travel
- Print only one day a week
- Shrink your workspace
- Shrink your marketing materials in size, quantity, and variety
- Make your messaging energy efficient
- Get a programmable thermostat
- Learn about energy efficiency from books, community sessions, and conferences (or their websites)
- Share your energy efficiency story
Case Study Development by the Institute for Sustainable Development for the Council of Smaller Enterprise (COSE) Small Business Energy EfficiencyGuide
The Institute for Sustainable Development / Green Plus