With so much discussion currently taking place around environmental awareness, it is little wonder that many businesses are looking at ways to operate in a more eco-friendly manner. Going green can save your business money, help to streamline operations and show customers that you are responsible and progressive.
While water filters and office recycling bins are certainly helpful, there are other steps that companies can take to have an even greater impact on the reduction of their carbon footprints. More specifically, they can utilise recent technological innovations which preserve the environment through energy efficiency and the reduction of harmful waste. This means it is easier than ever for businesses to make greener choices, without harming their productivity.
Consider our tech tips, which will help to make your business become more environmentally sustainable.
Switch to renewable energy
Flicking a light switch or pressing the power button on a computer may not seem like it is adding to pollution, since those technologies do not appear to run on fossil fuels. However, they do have an impact on the environment even if they are not emitting exhaust fumes.
Installing solar panels is rapidly becoming more affordable and, with proper maintenance, can prove one of the best ways for businesses to minimise their ecological impact while cutting down on operational costs.
According to some marketplace data, business owners may be able to save as much as 80 percent, or more, on their electric bills by taking the time to install solar panels.
For smaller businesses in particular, the price of using eco-friendly technologies like solar panels may seem expensive at first, but may end up helping to save money on energy costs in the long run.
Review your costs and figure out your “break even” point. If installing a new energy-saving feature costs a certain amount upfront, but your monthly bills go down as a result, how long will it take to pay for itself? Depending on the investment, it may even make sense to finance the initial cost, using a business loan or line of credit.
Whenever possible, many eco-conscious business owners are already doing their best to reduce paper use. By now, using email to communicate with employees, clients and customers is, of course, standard protocol.
But this is just the beginning, as there are many ways to apply the paperless principle to every aspect of your enterprise. Conducting communications and paying bills exclusively through digital channels will not only help save trees, but will also cut expenses. In the UK, the average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of copy paper each year. This equates to 20 reams of paper (500 sheets per ream) or four boxes of paper in total with an estimated cost of £10 per box. It is estimated that 6,800 (68 per cent) of those 10,000 sheets are wasted. Reasons for the high wastage include printing emails unnecessarily, failing to use the duplex function, printing duplicates and forgetting about documents left on the printer.
Nowadays, it is becoming easier to avoid using paper. You can 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.
Additionally, there are many online services that you can use to streamline internal operations while doing away with paper at work. They allow businesses to schedule assignments, organise projects and share links, documents and media with team members. Digital project management tools like this can help eliminate paper from your office, while increasing employee productivity.
Smartphone apps such as Diary Manager and Dropbox also do a good job of eliminating paper waste.
One way in which small businesses can reduce air pollution is to allow employees to work from home. Even one or two days that an employee does not need to drive to work can make a huge difference. If one million people worked from home just one day a week, it could eliminate three million tonnes of CO2 emissions each year.
Thanks to the innovations made over recent years in digital communication technology, such as video chat, it is now possible for people to communicate remotely with ease. Besides the ability to have face-to-face meetings with employees, as well as clients, without being in the same room, online applications such as Zoom and Google Suite allow for remote team collaboration in real time. With all of the different developments in technology, small businesses are now able to conduct their operations without requiring employees to be physically present at all times.
Harness the Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) offers one of the more exciting ways in which businesses can use technology to go green. Essentially, IoT refers to a network of machines outfitted with sensors that send information to a central database. That data is then analysed and translated into information that people can use to determine how well the machine works, if it will need maintenance soon and if it meets legal parameters.
With that concept in mind, there are numerous ways in which IoT could help businesses go green. For example, some restaurants are now using sensors like Monnit, among other tech tools, to make sure refrigerator systems are maintaining the proper temperature, which aims to reduce wasted food and save money.
Some manufacturing companies are also using IoT sensors to monitor heavy machinery performance, which helps to predict malfunctions and avoid the costs associated with big repairs.
These are just two examples of how IoT is changing how businesses operate. There are many more possible applications of IoT technology for business optimisation. These new technologies are providing business owners with insights into equipment performance that they simply did not have even a few years ago. IoT is opening up myriad possibilities for businesses to incorporate sustainable practices in creative ways.
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