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How technology can help the planet, one step at a time

The digital revolution has brought many benefits to the world in the forms of increased security, speed and convenience, making it possible for us to communicate with others all over the world and find any information we could ever want instantly. However, technological inventions could now also aid us in reducing our environmental impact and saving the planet.

In 2019, protecting the Earth from climate change has become a critical concern. In a report published by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in the previous year, it was warned that urgent changes needed to be made to prevent the Earth’s temperature from rising approve its current maximum level of 1.5C. Climate change is already happening, and if the Earth’s temperature rises just half a degree in the next 11 years, it will led to more devastating natural disasters, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, floods and droughts.

While it’s true that electronic equipment such as computers and printers are contributing to this issue as they’re powered by electricity and are often not recycled when they should be, the digitalization of various processes is helping businesses to reduce their environmental impact in other ways, and these are what your own organization should be taking inspiration from…

Remote working

By enabling remote working, you can do business with people no matter where they’re located in the world, giving you a bigger reach for your customer base. You also benefit your staff by making it easier for them to carry out essential tasks (such as taking their children to school) around their working day. However, if your employees spend a few days a week working from home, they will make less journeys using cars and public transport – both of which damage the planet by burning fossil fuels and releasing carbon dioxide into the air.

Figures from the U.S Census Bureau show that the average one way commute was 26.1 minutes in the year 2017, meaning that the typical full-time employee spent over 4 hours travelling to and from work each week, totting up to nearly nine days a year. With the majority of the journeys to work being done by car, buses or trains, this is something that urgently needs to change.

Cloud technology

Paper consumption is one of the biggest contributors to climate change. Trees are vital for our survival as they absorb planet-harming carbon dioxide from the air, but unfortunately, it was reported in 2011 that around 4 billion trees (35% of the world’s total tree population) are cut down for paper usage. In addition to this, approximately one billion trees worth of paper are thrown away in the U.S. each year.

Fortunately, reducing the amount of paper that gets sent to landfill is one of the easiest problems your business can tackle through technology. With Cloud based systems enabling documents to be securely stored online and accessed by whoever you need to share them with no matter where they’re located in the world, many businesses have been able to reduce the amount of paper files they keep. If this is something yours isn’t already doing, then 2019 is the time to make changes.

Smart thermostats

Thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT) connecting devices to each other, smart thermostats are now a possibility for many modern workplaces. These help you reduce your energy consumption by changing the building’s temperature based on whether it has detected a building is occupied, and during certain days of the week or times of the day. Nowadays, almost every smart thermostat can also be controlled by a mobile app, making it even easier for energy consumption to be controlled.

Why is this important? All energy sources have an impact on the environment, whether it’s coal, oil or natural gas. In 2018, energy usage in the U.S reached a record high of 101.3 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu), up 4% from 2017. If more workplaces around the world utilised this smart technology, this could make a big difference to the fight on global warming, as well as enable these businesses to save money on their energy bills.

August 13, 2019