The reasons why your business should become more eco-friendly are numerous and increasingly pressing. Whether you want to cut your energy bills or simply go to bed every night knowing that you have done your best to ensure that this beautiful planet of ours isn’t left in too damaged or broken a state for future generations, technology is the key to making your operations greener.
Some of the brightest minds that our species can muster have turned their attention to trying to come up innovative ways that we can utilise technology to help reduce our waste and carbon emissions without minimising economic output and business productivity.
From the epically grandiose to the far more everyday, the fruits of these collective scientific labours have begun to filter through to the world of everyday business.
So, how is technology going to begin having a healthy environmental impact on your business in the near future?
Here are some examples to get your business imagination and inner hippie grooving in the same direction.
The Power of Footsteps
If your business involves an office full of people constantly getting up and walking around, whether to meet customers, make tea or to have a conversation with someone else, you may be able to harness the power of their collective footsteps.
Companies such as Pavegen are pioneering the commercial application of paving slabs and other forms of flooring that use the kinetic energy released by people putting their weight on them to deliver tiny bursts of energy to nearby appliances. This technology is already being viewed with mouth-watering anticipation by the owners of nightclubs, busy bars and restaurants.
This technology is still very much in its infancy, but even now each step is producing enough individual power to keep an LED streetlight lit for 30 seconds. If the amount of energy that can be harnessed from each individual step can be increased, the implications for offices all over the world are huge.
Lights & Occupancy Sensors
We have all heard someone tell us to try and remember to turn off lights when we are not in the room to avoid wasting electricity. This is true on a much large scale for most medium to large businesses who are likely to be powering a lot of energy intensive machines, lights and appliances for at least eight hours a day.
Occupancy sensors can be installed that can turn lights off and on depending on whether anyone is using the room or not, which can end up being a great way for businesses to ensure that they are saving money on their electricity bills. But cutting edge sensors are able to detect how many people are in a room at any one time, and adjust the level of heating, airflow and light accordingly. A study carried out by the US Department of Energy found that the introduction of these kinds of sensors can slash energy use in large office buildings by around 18%.
Gratuitous use of the office printer is often identified as a key way in which businesses are spending more money than they strictly need to. Many offices can save themselves a substantial amount of money by using high quality ink cartridges and only printing essential documents.
It is in the realm of 3D printing, however, that things have the potential to get really crazy in the near future. The potential savings in distribution and shipping costs for the business tools and spare parts that a business needs could be pretty noticeable if you were simply able to print the item out.
The debate about whether or not 3D printing actually represents a truly ‘green’ development in business technology is still one that is raging across the internet for all to see, but the broader effects of its introduction seem to be positive.
The era of big data has a number of potential green applications for companies who are willing to take advantage of the situation. The big data era basically equates to the recent explosion in the amount of data that a business can collect and process and the means to store it. This means that a company can analyse its energy usage like never before, but it also means that more business document are being stored digitally by a third party.
These examples form just a small selection of the ways in which technological innovations that are right on the cusp of widespread commercial breakthroughs can be used by your business to decrease your outgoing costs while also making your whole organisation more eco-friendly.
Do you have any other examples of green technology that are going to have a substantial impact on the way that businesses operate?