We all put blue trash bins into the office to collect recyclables. There, done. You are now a company that works towards a more sustainable world. Maybe you even put “think twice before printing” on the bottom of all your company’s emails. These are great for being “green,” but they do not do much to improve your company’s bottom line. Over the past couple of years, new technologies on the internet and advanced sensors have produced tech that businesses can deploy to not just have a more sustainable workplace, but also reduce costs over time.
1) Smart thermostats
You may already have programmable thermostats in your work space. Now it is time to make them smart. New devices have sensors that do more than change the temperature on a schedule. They can monitor to see if a space is occupied, interact with temperature settings in adjoining areas, and know what the outside temperature is predicted to be. These connected devices can also be controlled and monitored remotely so your people can identify trends or problems. This is the next step in intelligently managing your heating and cooling and the impact they have on the environment.
2) Smart LED lighting
Replacing older lighting systems with LED lights is something you may have already done, or have a plan for. This is a simple way to reduce electricity use and the amount of toxic waste you produce. If you then connect them to sensors, you can reduce their use, adjust their brightness to account for ambient light, and monitor their usage.
3) Modern electric or hybrid vehicles
If your company has vehicles, you have an area where tech can really have an impact. Electric vehicles are now affordable and have fantastic range. And hybrids are even more affordable. With plug-in hybrids, you can drive electric most of the time, and not get stuck if you run out of juice. New technologies in batteries, motors, and engine controls make the current crop of vehicles in this class even more efficient and less costly to own and operate.
4) Well executed online meetings
If you sat down and looked at your company’s impact on the environment, the effect of long distance travel is significant. It still takes a lot of fuel, and produces a lot of emissions, to get from point A to point B by aircraft. Web-based meetings can eliminate the need for most of your travel, if you execute them right. You need to make sure that the audio is clear enough to not just hear each other, but also get tone from conversations. Video of the participants is a huge help. Mostly, you need to have up-to-date tech and a fast connection to allow for the meeting to feel like you are all in the same room.
5) Smart telecommuting
Letting employees work from home can reduce the amount of fuel used along with your company’s impact on local traffic. It also reduces the amount of heating/cooling needed and natural habitat that needs to be converted into office and parking. But having a mobile phone and a laptop is just the first step. Set up a local VPN connection at employee homes or remote office locations to provide secure and fast connections that don’t slow them down. Put their phones on your internal telephone system so they are part of the system, and implement the smooth web conferencing you use with customers within your company so remote workers are more efficient and feel part of the team.
Making your company more sustainable is about understanding the latest technology available, then implementing it to reduce your impact on the environment while reducing your long-term costs. There may be a short-term additional cost, but the long-term savings for your bottom line and the planet can be far greater.
Silicon Desert Insider is a weekly blog published every Wednesday on azBIGmedia.com, about how technology can help your company. If you have an idea for a piece for “Silicon Desert Insider,” please email AZ BIG Media Digital Editor Jesse A. Millard at firstname.lastname@example.org.