It has been well documented that to preserve the global ecosystem we must find new ways of living sustainably. This means that we must also find more environmentally friendly ways of working too. After all, green living shouldn’t stop when we leave the house.
Some businesses have been taking matters into their own hands and looking to offset the carbon footprint of their enterprise: Clearance Solutions practise rigorously efficient approaches to reuse and recycling to save far more CO2 than they produce. Other companies have partnered with environmental projects for the good of the ecosystem: the SAP recruitment agency Eursap recently pledged to plant a tree in The National Forest for every consultant placed.
It’s important to note that employees of a greener business can also feel some of the benefits of contributing to a more sustainable planet. Here are four eco-friendly practices that lead to a happier working lifestyle.
Cycling to work has health and financial benefits
Regular physical activity is important in keeping physically fit and is also proven to have several benefits for mental health. Exercise can help boost mood, energy levels, self-esteem and sleep quality. However many modern workers find themselves stuck behind a desk for most of the day and struggle to incorporate exercise into their daily routine.
One way of doing this is by cycling to work. A recent survey of 10,000 London commuters found that cycling into work rather than driving, taking the tube or using other public transport was one of the leading factors of a happy lifestyle. Many bike manufacturers have specifications suitable for commuting that can be customised to meet a customer’s specific needs.
The carbon emissions from cars and other vehicles contribute to global warming, so by cycling to work you are reducing the impact on the environment while reaping several benefits for yourself.
Health benefits aside, without the added costs of petrol and parking cycling to work can save you a substantial amount of money.
Telecommuting increases mood and decreases carbon footprint
Telecommuting and hot desking are increasingly popular ways of a business reducing its carbon footprint and the need for extra workspace. Hot-desking can reduce costs by up to 30% each year, with UK businesses saving a total of £34 billion annually. Allowing staff to telecommute could also reduce carbon emissions by over 51 million metric tons a year.
It can also rejuvenate employee morale. Two thirds of workers would prefer to work from home and 36% of employees would even shun a pay rise in favour of telecommuting. Being closer to home makes things such as childcare easier to manage, although it is important to separate work life and home life.
Working from home is becoming much more stress free with an increase in cloud-based services. For instance cloud-based accounting software allows home businesses and freelancers to keep on top of finances without the added stress of meeting with accountants as noted by contractor accountants 3 Wise Bears.
Eating unprocessed and organic food boosts energy levels
Employees that eat a balanced diet and avoid processed foods have higher levels of energy and concentration. Nutritionists recommend organic food as studies have found it to be higher in vitamin C, antioxidants and several minerals. Many pesticides commonly used on non-organic produce carry neurotoxins that are damaging to brain and nerve cells.
Foods that are high in natural fibre including fruit, vegetables and unprocessed grains such as brown rice and quinoa help you to stay satiated for longer and also increase alertness and levels of concentration. Workers who eat natural foods in their unprocessed state are likely to be more productive than those that do not.
Organic food production is the sustainable choice for the future. Modern agricultural practices can be destructive to the environment through the use of herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers.
Plants improve air quality and employee productivity
The air quality of an office plays a huge role in the productivity of a workforce. Having a healthy office environment is crucial as absenteeism costs UK businesses an estimated £36 billion each year.
Many offices use air conditioning to regulate air quality but a cheaper and more eco-friendly solution is to introduce plants to the office. Plants absorb toxins from the air and release oxygen back into the atmosphere. This benefits both the environment and the productivity of your employees.
A study also found employees working in offices with one plant per square metre were 15% more productive than those without. Memory retention and concentration were proven to significantly improve.
A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon
Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.
There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.
1. The Rise Of Smart Windows
When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.
If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.
2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs
If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.
Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.
3. Low-E Windows Taking Over
It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.
They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.
4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges
Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.
The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.
5. Improving Our Current LEDs
Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.
That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.
Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too
Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.
ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244
IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”
IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.
Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.
Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.
Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:
“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.
We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.
There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.
We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”