Luckily, eco-friendly is often synonymous with efficiency, and efficiency with cost-effectiveness. According to a 2009 study by McKinsey & Company, homes and businesses in the United States collectively waste $130 billion worth of energy per year. To make things worse, approximately 68.9 percent of all energy generated by the nation’s power grid is wasted, a 2017 study by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) at the Department of Energy shows. This means that only about one-third of energy produced makes its way to homes and businesses to begin with.
With all this waste putting strain on your wallet and the planet, be a shining beacon for the future of computing — a future that can be abundant in savings for you and the earth. Here are four tips to get you started.
1. Choose efficient computers
The computers you choose to equip your office (and how you operate them) can make or break your pact with the planet. When browsing for computers, it’s important to select Energy Star-rated models. Energy Star equipment can provide up to 75 percent energy savings. Another way to locate green computers is with the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT), which was developed by the Green Electronics Council. This free online tool allows you to compare monitors, desktops and laptops based on efficiency.
Now that you have eco-friendly computers dazzling your office, it’s important for your employees to adopt best practices. Power management policies go a long way: Using power strips with surge protectors — to turn off multiple devices at once; disabling screensavers — which, contrary to popular belief, significantly drain energy; adjusting power settings to put the computer in sleep and hibernate modes after inactivity; and powering off devices at night, are great practices to incorporate into your company culture.
2. Cloud compute
Cloud computing is all about innovation and efficiency. With the cloud, fewer servers and less hardware are used, which greatly reduces electricity usage and carbon emissions. The hardware and software that is present has better infrastructure and a higher utilization rate. This accomplishes two things: Better hardware setup means less expenditure of wattage on backup power and cooling, and you use the full capacity of your servers so that no machines are idled, and no resources are wasted.
Working to capacity while simultaneously putting less strain on the environment? This simply can’t be achieved with in-house, traditional data centers. Public cloud servers are found to double, triple, even quadruple the efficiency of your system.
Another amazing effect of cloud computing is the ability for employees to be more mobile, yet more connected than ever. Sharing files, managing spreadsheets, checking voice messages, attending meetings — all of this can be done effortlessly in real time via the cloud. Why is this significant? 86 percent of people in the United States commute to work by car, 76.1 percent of whom ride solo. This brings the national average of carbon dioxide emitted per year, per motorist to 5.5 tons.
Your business can directly reduce pollution in a big way by allowing employees, if their role permits, to work remotely from home a couple days of the week. In fact, this is also a plus in terms of employee retention, as young professionals are seeking jobs that give them the flexibility to choose when and where they work. Cloud computing makes this win-win-win (you-employee-earth) scenario easier than ever.
To rewind to tip one, when you are choosing your computer another crucial factor to consider is longevity — the longer the systems last, the less you litter the planet. But when the day inevitably comes to replace your computers, do not simply throw them out. According to a study by the United Nations, of the 44.7 million tons of e-waste discarded in 2016, only 20 percent of it was disposed of properly. That is simply unacceptable.
There are three proper disposal options: 1. Recycle 2. Donate 3. Bring it to a tech shop. There are more tech recycling centers just around the corner than you think, just browse online or visit E-Cycling Center and search by zip code. Many organizations can also donate working electronics (and even not working in some cases) to people in need, such as eBay with its eBay for Charity program. Apple, Best Buy and Amazon (to name a few) have buyback or recycling programs in place as well.
Finally, with sophisticated cloud servers that reliably store and back up all of your data, you can take it a step further by not making waste to begin with — go paperless! The days of filing cabinet after filing cabinet stuffed with printed documents are slowly but surely dwindling away.
Embrace the transformation and make your company a leader in innovation. At Frontier IT in Colorado Springs, they provide consultations and cloud services to bring your business to the next tier of efficiency.
To learn more about eco-friendly tips for your business, call Frontier IT at 719-888-HELP (4357).