5 Tips how technology can help businesses go green
As awareness about the climate crisis hits an all-time high, there is increasing pressure on businesses to “go green” and reduce their carbon footprint.
The good news is that technology has made it even easier for businesses to do this. Consider these five tips to take active steps towards making your business more sustainable.
Go paper free
These days, it’s getting easy to avoid using paper. Using emails, Microsoft Teams and video calls to communicate with employees, clients, and customers has become standard in the last two years.
You can also keep everyone in your business’s network in the loop with regularly scheduled email newsletters, updates on your company’s website, and social media posts (just to name a few).
Additionally, there is a long list of online services that you can use to streamline internal operations while doing away with paper at work.
Project management software like Asana and Evernote can remove the need for to-do lists and notepads while having the added benefit of fostering a more collaborative working environment. Likewise, e-signature solutions like DocuSign allow you to securely bypass the need to print paper for a signature while remaining compliant with regulations.
Not only can these tools help your company to be greener by reducing your paper usage, but they can also boost productivity among employees and reduce business running costs.
Move to the cloud
If your business has a large number of employees and a large IT infrastructure, switching to cloud computing is an effective way you can save energy.
A study from Microsoft found that using the cloud could reduce your company’s carbon footprint by as much as 90%, as shared data centres, can be run far more efficiently than individual, traditional, on-site data centres, which guzzle a great deal of energy.
Traditional IT requires substantial physical infrastructure like servers and networking, and running this consumes energy. Cloud computing reduces the hardware you need to operate, alongside removing the need for eventual upgrades, meaning you don’t need to replace equipment.
Look for low energy ratings
One tip you may not be aware of is to purchase laptops and PCs that are rated for energy efficiency.
Groups like Government-run Energy Star, audit and certify devices for their efficiencies and sustainable practices. If you’ve shopped for a new laptop recently and seen the Energy Star logo, this means the product is held to a higher standard of energy use and helps cut emissions.
Speaking of laptops, they can still be a drain on energy usage depending on how you use them. This is particularly the case if your employees leave their laptops plugged into the mains throughout the day – even when fully charged. A good practice is to ask staff to unplug their computers from the wall when it reaches 100% battery, you’ll notice a difference in energy usage and device performance.
Invest in smart tech for the office
With the proper maintenance, a solar panel system can be one of the best ways for small and medium-sized businesses to reduce the impact on the environment while also cutting down on operational costs.
They may have a bit of an upfront cost, but as you’ll be generating your own power, this can help to reduce the amount your business spends on energy (such as gas or electricity), plus solar panels often require minimal maintenance.
One of the quickest, cheapest and easiest green energy switches you can make is moving to LED lightbulbs in your office. They use about 8x less power than regular bulbs and will last around twenty times longer.
While we’re on the subject of lighting, it might also be worth looking into smart lighting. It’s common sense to turn the lights off when you leave a room to save energy, but on business premises, this can easily slip employees’ minds. Fitting motion sensors can be a good way around this, ensuring that lights are only on when they’re genuinely needed.
Track emissions with IoT
The Internet of Things, or IoT for short, is one of the more exciting ways that your business can use technology to go green. The IoT refers to the ever-growing network of Internet-connected devices which can receive and transmit data, and one of the key advantages of this technology is that it can provide the ability to monitor and manage all your devices’ activity, enabling you to seriously shrink your carbon footprint.
For example, by using IoT-enabled smart thermostats and smart plugs in your office, you could greatly reduce the amount of energy your business consumes and cut CO2 emissions.
Some manufacturing companies are also using IoT sensors to monitor heavy machinery performance which helps predict malfunctions and avoid the costs associated with big repairs.
The upshot of using such smart technology is not just that you will be making your business a whole lot greener, but by using less energy, you will be saving money too – it’s a win-win!
Of course, sustainable practices aren’t only down to employers. You could ask your team to play their part by:
- Setting computers to sleep – Sleep is the lowest use of energy (besides powering down and unplugging). So, set monitors to turn off after 15 inactive minutes. Your computer shouldn’t be awake after more than 30 minutes of activity.
- Sharing printers – Whether you’re at home or the office, consider how often printers are necessary. Who can you share with?
- Working remotely – Working from home may be the new norm for many and continue long after the pandemic, but it’s also an obvious way to reduce emissions associated with commuting.
Using any or all of these solutions can help make your company much greener, while also saving you money.