Sustainability is more than just a buzzword; it's a worldwide movement. Businesses around the globe are increasingly embracing eco-friendly practices. Of course, it's not just for the positive impact on the environment; they also have a positive benefit on a company's bottom line. Sustainable technology habits can improve efficiency, cut costs, and attract environmentally conscious customers. Below, we'll explore several sustainable tech habits you can adopt as a win-win for both the environment and your business.
Perhaps one of the easier changes you can make (and one that many have already made without thinking about it) is to go paperless. Transitioning to a paperless office can save money on paper, ink, and storage costs. The ease and accessibility of digital documents, electronic signatures, and cloud storage solutions frequently make this a trivial change. As an additional benefit, digitizing files allows for automatic sorting and keyword searching, which reduces wasted hours and improves productivity.
Energy-Efficient Hardware and Appliances
Investing in energy-efficient hardware and appliances can lead to significant cost savings, especially in the long run. Energy-efficient devices consume less electricity, resulting in lower utility bills. Consider upgrading to Energy Star-rated equipment and using LED lighting to reduce energy consumption. It may surprise you how fast your electric bill goes down, even after something as simple as replacing the lightbulbs.
Virtualization and Cloud Computing
Virtualization and cloud computing solutions can help you optimize your IT infrastructure by consolidating servers and resources to reduce your hardware requirements. The less hardware required for your IT, the lower the energy consumption and maintenance costs.
E-Waste Recycling Programs
You should never just throw your old electronics out like typical garbage. In addition to being generally wasteful, many electronics, like batteries, can have adverse effects on the environment when left to rot. Instead, have an e-waste recycling program to dispose of outdated or non-functioning electronic equipment properly. Many electronics can be refurbished or recycled to reduce waste or even generate additional revenue through resale.
Optimize Data Centers
Data centers are notorious for their high energy consumption. If you are outsourcing your data centers, look for options that promote their energy efficiency. If you are hosting your data centers, optimize them for energy efficiency by:
- Using energy-efficient servers
- Implementing efficient cooling systems
- Consolidating data storage to reduce power usage
Sustainable Data Practices
There are lots of little things you can do to improve your sustainability as well, such as following sustainable data practices. Sustainable data practices are primarily about removing outdated and redundant data from your storage. (Not counting backups, which are inherently redundant but also very important.) Efficient data management reduces storage requirements and enhances data processing speed. Of course, this can also apply to things like optimizing software. Unnecessary background processes and inefficient code can impose unneeded strain on your hardware, increasing energy consumption.
Renewable Energy Sources
This one can be difficult to implement, but consider transitioning to renewable energy sources like solar or wind power. The initial investment may be significant, but renewable energy can lead to big savings on electricity costs. Additionally, it demonstrates your commitment to sustainability, which can attract eco-conscious customers.
Remote Monitoring and Control
You can implement a remote monitoring and control system into your network to enable you to manage your facility's energy usage from anywhere. In addition to allowing you to monitor computer activity on your network, this technology can enable you to adjust the thermostat, turn on/off lights, and more remotely.
Remote Work and Telecommuting
This tip will likely only work for a select few companies, but embracing remote work can do a lot to make a company more green. It reduces the need for office space and cuts down on commuting-related emissions. There are also studies that show employees who work remotely report increased job satisfaction and productivity. (Although this is, of course, going to vary by individual.)