As public opinion shifts towards supporting sustainable development and the need to be greener to reduce the potential impacts of climate change, more customers are looking to choose businesses that have a positive environmental impact as their preference when buying products. It is therefore of growing importance for businesses to recognise this and use practices that have a lower environmental footprint to secure future business. There are ways to reduce the amount of carbon used and energy wasted that can be implemented at a cost low enough to make it worthwhile.
One of the biggest culprits when considering wastage is paper. About 35% of the average waste stream comes from excessive paper usage, even though it is easy enough to reuse and recycle. Coming up with strategies to reduce paper use in the first place is the best place to start; sending emails rather than postal correspondence, having all bills to pay for your office or working space set up online, opting not to print receipts and so on. Instead of storing boxes and boxes of paper files to keep track of the business, move everything online and into cloud storage as well as backing everything up on external hard drives. This will take up a lot less space in the work area as well as reducing the levels of paper required. Also, consider replacing all paper stocks with that from either sustainable sources or use only recycled paper.
All important documents can be signed and verified online these days, as it is possible to digitally sign PDF files, so this means there is no need to print something out just to sign it and scan it back into a digital format. If the business wants to create an invoice and send it out, it can all be done online. Invoicehome.com offers a service that allows invoices and payment related affairs to be sent digitally and have them paid without having to print anything.
In this digital age, customers are becoming used to dealing with documents online, and often filling out a form online can be far quicker than completing it over the phone or having to post something off. Online resources also mean that customers are able to respond quicker, meaning that a business operates in a more streamlined fashion. The servers that a company’s internet resources are hosted on can also be upgraded to a server company that aims to be sustainable, mitigating the running costs and unfavourable impact by planting trees and buying carbon offsets.
Looking at other aspects of curbing energy waste, one of the most obvious but generally unheeded tips is of course to turn everything off at night. According to the Energy Saving Trust, between 9 -16% of home energy consumption comes from leaving electronics on standby, and having things like phone chargers plugged in even if they are not charging anything. Consider upgrading high-energy usage items such as high-wattage light bulbs with more energy efficient replacements, as well as higher-rated energy saving appliances such as kettles.
How the rest of the business waste is recycled and taken care of is also a key aspect of lowering environmental footprints. Almost all everyday materials can now be recycled in all locations across the UK, apart from a few types of plastics which are currently too energy-intensive to make it worthwhile recycling them. All food waste can be composted and there are many sustainably focused recycling companies that offer bespoke services to cater for business waste recycling. For electronics, there are many schemes in place to safely recycle otherwise difficult components such as mobile phones and old computers.
If the business is successful enough to be able to remodel the office or workspace, there are lots of sustainable designs and models that can hugely improve the energy usage of the building. Old windows and badly insulated floors and ceilings can contribute a lot of excessive energy wastage. By investing in eco-friendly building design, it is possible to ensure the business has a low environmental footprint by occupying an efficient building. If the business is located in the right area, it is also possible to have it run on clean, renewable energy rather than over-consuming fossil fuels and not even see a noticeable difference in cost.
If the business is large and it seems daunting and insurmountable to figure out exactly what energy is being used and where, consider having an energy audit. This will highlight every input and output and allow the situation to be easily assessed to see what instant steps can be taken to immediately lower the environmental impacts of the business.
Setting goals for sustainable development and targets for a lower environmental footprint is incredibly important to be able to measure just how effective any changes are, and make alterations to the plans as necessary. By plotting all of the changes and keeping track of all improvements it is easier to see what is making the biggest difference and what seems to be having less of an effect.
Promoting these goals around the office or work environment will encourage everyone involved in these schemes to keep track of what is going on and make everyone enthusiastic about trying to implement positive changes to the business. Educating employees about these new practices is key to making sure that the whole workforce is committed to reducing the environmental footprint across all sectors of the business.
So, it is definitely becoming easier for businesses to make a massive difference in their environmental output and to affect positive changes across whole industries. As consumers become more involved and educated about trying to reduce environmental impact with their own purchases, businesses will see the benefits of a positive energy policy.
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.”
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