Earth Day 2020 is the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day.

Earth Day 2020Earth Day 2020 is the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day although unfortunately, the world is facing global sustainability issues such as COVID 19, climate change, and other issues.
Achieving sustainability is a work in progress and calls for a constant evolution of technologies, ideas, and concepts to develop solutions that are practical and effective. Sustainability solutions will be resilient and focused on overcoming technical and policy barriers that prevent the uptake of sustainability in different sectors of society.

As of today, the world is experiencing some of the pressing global challenges that we probably have not experienced in our lifetimes. Clearly, technology will not or does not provide all the answers that we need today, however, it will help to speed up or assist in moving us towards a sustainable path. Technological solutions are just one part of the big picture as other solutions include policy, regulations, sustainable business as well as innovative financing options that are effective to promote sustainability from a systems’ perspective.

Technology can be broadly defined as the entities, both material and conceptual created by the application of mental and physical effort to achieve some value. Technological change, on the other hand, can refer to several yet compatible concepts involving an improvement in technology or technological progress. According to Rogers (2003), the idea of technological change underpins a social process involving adopters and others who are profoundly affected by its cultural setting, political institutions, and marketing strategies.

Sustainability calls for new concepts and ideas to reverse, for instance, the effects of climate change. Solar photovoltaics (PV) is just one of many of the new technologies to help in sustainability efforts. IRENA notes that renewables such as solar PV and energy efficiency offer a safe, reliable, and affordable way to achieve massive decarbonization in line with keeping the rise in global temperatures “well below 2°C”. IRENA’s analysis shows the combination of renewables, energy efficiency and increased electrification could achieve 90% of the reductions needed in energy-related emissions.

wind power
Renewables are also becoming cost-effective and with time we have seen for example solar power at grid parity. Grid parity is the point when the cost of alternative energy becomes equal to or less than electricity from conventional energy forms like fossil fuels. As such, renewable energy subsidies are now been phased out, and, in the USA for instance, the investment tax credit (ITC) to support consumers in switching to solar was reduced at the beginning of this year from 30% to 26%.

Now, the solar investment tax credit is available to homeowners in some form through 2021. In 2020 & 2021 owners of new residential and commercial solar can deduct 26% or 22% of the cost of the system from their taxes respectively. The ITC will then be reduced to 10% available for only owners of new commercial solar energy systems while there will be no federal credit for residential solar energy systems’.

Furthermore, IRENA’s analysis of renewable energy shows that the cost of electricity from renewable energy technologies has fallen steadily and even dramatically in recent years, and since 2000, especially for solar and wind generation and are now seen as viable commercial options. Also, power generation from renewable sources and technologies has become competitive with fossil-based or nuclear power.

biogas technology

Food waste is another issue that has become a huge sustainability issue over the last decade. In particular, food waste is a major source of methane (CH4) which is one of the most potent gases that is causing climate change. If food waste were a country, it would come in third after the United States and China in terms of impact on global warming. Hence, reducing food waste around the world would help curb emissions of planet-warming gases, lessening some of the impacts of climate change such as more extreme weather and rising seas.

With these sustainability challenges, it is clear that Earth Day 2020 presents us with an opportunity to contribute to efforts of fighting sustainability issues facing planet Earth and there so many solutions as we have captured above. Here at reneenergy.com, we want to thank you for your continued support and for subscribing to our blog posts. Thank you again. Please subscribe below if you haven’t to keep you posted about our blog posts.



How and where to dispose of batteries in a sustainable way?

where to dispose batteriesThe battery technology just like solar PV technology continues to advance and today there are various types of batteries being used to help power equipment or store energy for electricity. As the solar PV sector continues to grow whether with on-grid or off-grid solar applications; the battery technology will help to accelerate the increased adoption of solar PV in domestic, commercial and utility sectors and other renewable energy technologies that are intermittent in nature like the wind energy.
Similarly, with the rapid development of electric cars in various countries, it means that we will see the demand for battery technology continue to grow exponentially. Solar PV and electric vehicles(EV) will definitely demand increased usage of the battery technology among other sectors that require batteries such as agricultural, commercial or even the household sector where batteries are used for TV remotes, flashlights, children’s toys and small electronics like cellphones.

However, even with these technological developments; how and where to dispose of batteries after their useful life is completed is one aspect of sustainability that will need to be tackled from a system thinking perspective. At the development stage of these batteries, it calls for implementing sustainable design to make it easy to recycle most of the components of the battery technology in question. For instance, researchers at the IBM research unveiled recently a new battery technology that will eliminate the need for heavy metals in battery production hence improving sustainable design.

As such, before looking into proper ways of disposing batteries, it is good to know what batteries are, the different types of batteries, and what they are made up of, making them something that requires proper disposal. Well, batteries are a collection of one or a group of cells that undergo various chemical reactions to create a continuous flow of electrons in a circuit.

Battery cells are generally classified into three components that is the anode, also known as the negative electrode, cathode, also known as the positive electrode, and finally, the electrolytes. For sustainability, the battery chemical composition will matter as it will guide how a battery will be disposed of after its useful life. For instance, in the USA, when it comes to lead-acid batteries, 99% of these batteries are collected and recycled.

However, according to the World Economic Forum, recycling lithium-ion batteries is a bit challenging due to the diversity of cell types and the broad range of materials such as an alloy of cobalt, nickel, and copper that may require manual sorting and handling or even smelting (pyrometallurgy) to recover individual metals or battery raw materials such as cobalt carbonate.

Types of batteries

There are many types of batteries classified according to their chemical composition, formation factor, size, and the purpose they serve. They include:

  1. Primary batteries: These are a kind of batteries that cannot be recharged once fully used. These batteries are made up of electrochemical cells that their electrochemical reactions can also not be reversed. This kind of battery is usually used in devices that require no charging. Primary batteries are made up in a way that they provide high specific energy, and whenever used, the devices consume little power to ensure the battery has a long life span. The most common kind of primary batteries is alkaline batteries. They have higher specific energy levels, are environmentally friendly, and are cheaper to purchase.
  2. Secondary batteries are the direct opposite of primary batteries. Secondary batteries can be recharged, and their electrochemical cells and electrochemical reactions can be reversed when all the energy has been fully used up. The secondary batteries are commonly known as the rechargeable batteries. Secondary batteries can be classified into different groups depending on their chemistry or chemical composition.
    1. Lithium-ion: they are also known as Li-ion batteries. They are used in smart devices such as mobile phones and other battery home appliances. It has Lithium electrodes on it.
    2. Nickel Cadmium: Also known as Ni-Cd batteries. They are made up of nickel oxide hydroxide chemical and the metallic cadmium as the electrodes.
    3. Nickel-Metal hydride. This kind of batteries has the same chemical reaction to Ni-Cd batteries, which is nickel oxide hydroxide. Although, a negative electrode uses hydrogen-absorbing alloy, but not cadmium like the Ni-Cd batteries.solar battery
    4. Lead-acid batteries: Lead-acid batteries are cheaper efficient power batteries that are used in heavy-duty applications. They are usually used in instances where they are non-portable because of their weight. Lead-acid batteries are used in an application that includes vehicle batteries for ignition and lighting and also as solar-panel energy stores. Lead-acid batteries are made up of acid that is used to ensure proper current flow in the circuit. Lead-acid batteries are the oldest form of secondary batteries and are relatively cheap compared to the other secondary batteries.

where to dispose batteries

Where to dispose of batteries

Batteries are disposed of depending on the type which determines their chemical composition.

a) Household batteries: Household batteries can be classified into two groups, either rechargeable or non-rechargeable batteries. Disposing of the household batteries is not as complicated as disposing of the vehicle and industrial batteries.

According to battery solutions, alkaline batteries (AAA, AA, C, D, 9V, etc.) can be recycled using a specialized “room temperature,” mechanical separation process to recycle alkaline batteries.

The alkaline battery components are separated into three end products, that is, a zinc and manganese concentrate, steel, and paper, plastic and brass fractions. All of these products are put back into the market place for reuse in new products to offset the cost of the recycling process.

However, when it comes to rechargeable batteries, for example, lithium batteries are recyclable. They can, therefore, be disposed of at the battery recycling centers, electronic retailers who recycle batteries, or a waste collection site for hazardous materials. Therefore, ensuring you dispose of batteries properly.

b) Industrial batteries.

Industrial batteries can also be referred to as forklift or traction batteries. Industrial batteries can normally be drained to about 20% of the maximum charging capacity before a recharge.

Industrial batteries are manufactured with lead plates making them not disposable in the trash. Lead is considered to be a hazardous waste that is highly toxic to the environment. So when it comes to the industrial batteries, an estimated 60 to 80 percent of the used battery is normally reclaimed. More than 95 percent of the industrial lead-acid batteries are recycled.

The outer plastic shell is recycled to make some new plastic items, whereas the metal plates undergo purification to manufacture new batteries. In most states, there is a law that accepts the return of the industrial batteries to the retailer for disposal purposes. In case one cannot trace the retailer, they can contact the government officials for the information on the directions to follow to ensure proper disposal of the industrial batteries, industrial batteries maybe containing sulphuric acid that is harmful.

Safety precaution is normally advised when transporting the batteries for disposal. One should also avoid exposing the batteries to open flames or incidental devices like the cigarette lighters just for precaution measures.

c) Vehicle batteries: Car batteries are made out of lead-acid which is hazardous. It is, therefore, essential to dispose of it carefully just to avoid harmful side effects that can be life-threatening to human beings. There are many ways to dispose of vehicle batteries.
where to dispose batteries

  • Returning the battery to a retailer. When purchasing the battery, there is normally a core charge fee certain retailers usually add in the receipts. This charge means that the battery is essential to the retailer. It can either be recycled or be rebuilt. Meaning that you can return the battery to the retailers, and they refund back your money with the same amount you paid as a core charge fee.
  • Taking the car battery to a recycling depot: You can check on the closest designated recycling depots near you on the internet and dispose of your car battery there for disposals.
  • Taking the car battery to an auto parts store: You can make your take battery to an auto parts store as you go buy another one.
  • Selling the car battery to scrap metal depot: One can decide to sell their batteries off to the scrap metal depot near them at a fee.
  • Taking the car batteries to battery recycling centers where they can recycle them and make something good out of them.

Each state has its own recycling program while resources such as Earth911 have a comprehensive online platform for helping online users decide on how to dispose of old batteries. Earth911 provides a recycling locator for all types of batteries where you just enter your zip code and it pulls the details for your specific battery and how or where to recycle them.

Call2Recycle is another online resource that offers a network of over 34,000 local recycling centers and drop-off locations for rechargeable batteries such as local municipalities and local retailers like Best Buy.

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10 ways to green your business and save money

greening your business
Consumers are increasingly becoming aware of the need to obtain their products and services from organizations that have integrated the concept of sustainability into their business model. According to the findings of the 2015 Cone Communications/Ebiquity Global CSR Study, global consumers feel personal accountability to address social and environmental issues and look to companies as partners in progress.

The study was done from a research base of 10,000 citizens in countries with some of the largest GDP in the world, including the United States, Canada, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, China, India, and Japan. About nine-in 10 consumers expect companies to do more than make a profit, but also to operate responsibly to address social and environmental issues while conducting their businesses.

Against this background, this article attempts to provide 10 ways to green your business and save money. The following ways of greening your business are generic in nature and more industry-specific ideas will be addressed at a later stage. These 10 ways just provide some eco-sustainable solutions that may be considered for your business just to get started. Comprehensive and well-detailed options to green your business will depend on nature/industry and the core business that your organization is involved in. For instance, eco-sustainable solutions for a manufacturing company will vary from industry to industry. Also, some eco-sustainable solutions from manufacturing companies will differ with those ones of service-oriented companies that may not produce any products, but provide services to their clients. For your questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comments section provided below.

10 Ways to green your business and save money

The concept of going green is a cost-effective approach for companies to explore and get a return on investment (ROI). The greening of your business does not have to be a costly intervention and when used with proper planning and useful greening tools, such as checklists, case studies, calculators and other tools that can be found on the internet, this process can be simplified and a step by step process can be adopted to help realize potential savings from the actions of going green.

Going green for businesses can be approached differently based on the inputs and outputs of your business which involve the internal factors and external factors of your business. These factors may involve business processes including all the stakeholders involved (clients, suppliers, government and staff members). Therefore, in order to identify ways to green your specific business and save money we need to use systems thinking approach in order to engage the relevant stakeholders that are involved in your business operations. However, that is a more detailed approach that can be approached using different greening toolkits or other tools to help develop a comprehensive strategy for greening your business.

To develop greening your business strategies or ways, consider the inputs (energy, water, transportation, etc), the outputs (emissions, wastewater, solid waste, etc) plus the business operations of your company that use technology, product development, marketing, administration, and business strategic planning in their business model. Using systems thinking approach, it is possible to find eco-sustainable solutions that can green these inputs, outputs and business operations. For instance, we can ask some important questions that will help us to develop ways for your business and later develop a company strategy or policy around these ideas to help implement or integrate greening into your company policy. For now, let start by asking about 10 questions to derive examples of strategies that can be used to green your business and save money.

1. Where is your energy sourced? Is it from a renewable energy source?

2. Does your company have a system in place to conserve water to save your water bill?

3. Does your company have methods or ways of controlling your emission levels?

4. What product/process does your company use to provide or have an integrated sustainable design into your product/service?

5. Does your company conduct preventative maintenance on its computers and appliances more often? When is the last time your company did an upgrade? Does your company use energy-efficient appliances and computers or Energy Star labeled appliances?

6. What form of marketing is your company using to market your services/products? Is it eco-friendly or does your company use paperless technology to market its products or services?

7. Have your company considered greening its office such as upgrading the type of printers used, using recyclable papers or 100% recycled paper for your business operations?

8. Does your company have to green your business policy to support its efforts and raise awareness to your employees, suppliers, etc?

9. Does your company practice green procurement? How are your purchasing decisions made to consult suppliers that sell raw materials or office supplies etc?

10. What modes of traveling does your business use for its business trips and so on? Does your company consider video conferencing and other forms of digital communication to lower its transportation costs?

Since we have developed a simple checklist to act as our guide for greening your business, we can now list 10 ways to green your business and save your company money in the process. In the process, it is good to develop an analysis to compute, compare, even if it takes conducting life-cycle assessments to determine that actually implementing these eco-sustainable solutions in your business will actually save the environment and save your company money (return on investment). The best place to start is to conduct a baseline assessment to determine what type of budget your company wants to set aside for its sustainability or greening efforts before starting the process. Determining some of the low hanging fruits will be a good idea to consider appropriate and affordable green practices that your business can start with i.e. starting with the business case for your sustainability efforts.

Below are some low hanging fruits that perhaps your company could pick from depending on the size of your budget:

1. Producing your own power from a renewable energy source could generate your company affordable, clean and reliable source of power for some years generally for a solar PV system, this could range between 20 to 25 years and the interesting thing is that your company won’t have to pay for the system. You could get such a PV system with zero down payment and still save from about 20% to 30% of your current energy bill. However, your company may opt to own or take a loan to install such a PV system on your rooftop which could potentially save even a great amount for your business. To explore this option, your company might want to conduct more research and using a solar energy calculator to provide you with more specific data retrieved from LiDAR technology. Such solar irradiation data has been scanned from the rooftop of your company to provide more specific solar potential data that will help to give your company a snapshot when it comes to:

  • How much your company can save with going solar specific
  • How many solar panels your company will need to get installed on your rooftop
  • How much it would cost your company and different financing structures for your PV system etc

Start using this solar calculator here for more information.

2. Consider saving water and save your water bill because water is a precious and critical resource for your business. There are different ways your company could consider saving water and hence the water bill in the long-term. There are water footprint tools that can be used to determine how much water your company is using and how it can save it. BEF has online water calculators to help you determine how to save water or off-set your water footprint. A few examples of saving water are:

  • choose high-efficiency fixtures with care
  • to fix any water leaks and install low-flow shower-heads (for instance for hotels) and aerators on all faucets.
  • harvest rainwater to use it to irrigate your landscapes.

3. If your company emits carbon emissions, there are ways of reducing or mitigating carbon such as integrating renewable energy technologies such as solar energy in your system to off-set any other carbon emissions from your transportation, manufacturing or any other business operations that may be emitting carbon emissions.

To determine your carbon footprint, please see this calculator determine emissions coming from transportation, building and see your results. If your company is interested in offsetting your carbon footprint, it can buy carbon or renewable energy credits from companies like BEF.

However, there are various ways of reducing emissions by adopting more efficient technologies or implementing energy efficiency or making retrofits to industrial processes thereby reducing emissions and save money in the long-term. Also, emission reduction will depend on the process or technology and how it can be improved or replaced to probably spend less energy and thus emit fewer emissions.

4. Integrate sustainable design in your products to use locally sourced materials and materials that are environmentally sustainable. This could include eco products that are 100% recyclable materials or raw materials that have been designed and produced according to environmental and social criteria.

5. If using old appliances or computers your company could upgrade to more energy-efficient appliances that have the Energy Star label to save energy and money in the process.

6. To avoid using printed paper or reduce the use of paper for your advertising or marketing, your company could explore digital marketing techniques to source for its future clients. Using social media, SEO, emails and other forms of marketing will help to get your company clients without paper costs, reduce transport costs and it is a potential for saving on your marketing budget depending on the nature of your business.

7. Greening your office could include replacing your office equipment with more efficient ones. Look for Energy Star, qualified brands and models. Promote your business responsibly using digital media and use 100%recycled paper or FSC certified paper and print with vegetable-based inks or choose waterless printers companies. ‘FSC’ stands for Forest Stewardship Council, an organization that works to promote the practice of sustainable forestry worldwide. The Forest Stewardship Council is an independent body that bestows labels to certify that products meet specific environmental and quality forestry standards. Your office could also promote the green concept on your emails with the use of appropriate marketing materials such as your logo.

8. Develop a greening your business policy and promote it to all levels of your company from the executive level to the operational level so that all employees own and implement this policy. This would probably be the first thing to do on your action plan to ensure ownership of the greening your business.

9. Integrate greening in your procurement process and integrate it in your purchasing decisions, for instance, your printer inks could come from vegetable-based inks or non-toxic inks which could offer a number of other advantages such as reduce toxic waste and sourcing materials derived from renewable sources which make recycling a lot easier.

10. Video conferencing can be used to avoid travel to many meetings at local and overseas helping to save on transport costs, reduced paper use and postage. Energy costs from your digital office can be reduced by the use of efficient appliances. Also setting the computers to automatically “sleep” mode will help to reduce energy costs. Air travel could adopt carbon-neutral travel and try to book flights on airlines that offer a carbon offset option.

These are just a few examples of ways to green your business and save money. For more information and detailed or specific comprehensive ideas, your company can write to us at support@reneenergy.com

Also for professional advice on how to go solar, please don’t hesitate to contact us at support@reneenergy.com or you can get started now by going to this website and start comparing your solar energy options. Also, you can start greening your office right away by sourcing for 100% recycled paper from the Amazon.com. Check them out at Amazon.com

What is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and is solar energy a good candidate for a CSR project?

Implementing and integrating the concept of sustainability into a company’s business model is increasingly been embraced by companies that want to improve their image and reputation while creating brands that are not only driven by making profits, but also taking a triple bottom line approach.

A triple-bottom line approach ensures social and environmental considerations are integrated into a company’s business model and as a result such an organization will consider voluntary actions, including environmental and social sustainability that have positive impacts to the environment and society. Most of the CSR component is self-regulation and goes beyond  regulations governing company operations. CSR is about doing the right things and most of the activities done as a CSR component are done for the following reasons:

  • To improve the brand of a company as doing social good which will help to raise awareness of a company’s agenda in sustainability
  • Consumers are increasingly becoming aware about the need to conserve the environment and move towards sustainability. Companies earn trust from consumers when their products integrates sustainable design and their processes are created with the environment in mind.
  • Consumers especially the Millennials who make up the fastest growing force in the marketplace are increasingly aware about CSR and want companies to be good citizens. According to a study conducted by Horizon Media’s Finger on the Pulse, “81 percent of Millennials expect companies to make a public commitment to good corporate citizenship.”
  • Also a study conducted from the 2015 Cone Communications Millennial CSR Study found out that “More than nine-in-10 Millennials would switch brands to one associated with a cause (91% vs. 85% U.S. average), and two-thirds use social media to engage around CSR (66% vs. 53% U.S. average).”

Against this background, CSR is definately becoming an important component of a company’s business model and it has become one of the ingredients for companies that want to implement sustainability in their business operations.

So, is solar energy a good CSR candidate?

Yes solar projects can be good candidates for CSR projects depending on the approach taken in developing and implementing such projects. Companies can explore different projects in the area of solar energy with the target  beneficiaries in mind. The beneficiaries of the solar projects can be the companies themselves or underserved communities that need solar to power their homes, social institutions or even their businesses. 

Some good examples of these projects include, but not limited to:

  • Investing CSR funds in developing solar powered pumps for underserved communities such as in rural areas or in parts of developing countries.
  • Investing CSR funds in promoting rural electrification using solar PV technologies. This could come in the form of off-grid power solutions or mini-grid power systems in underserved communities.
  • Investing CSR funds to power social institutions such as schools and churches with renewable forms of powers such as solar power.

The above can qualify as CSR projects and as good examples of CSR projects. However, some companies have gone ahead and implemented some good CSR solar projects. One of these companies that has used solar PV for their CSR projects is Microsoft.

Microsoft has a very comprehensive CSR strategy which targets underseved markets, rural areas and economically disadvantaged communities by connecting them to have access to the internet while employing solar PV. Since these communities are not connected to the grid, distributed renewable energy systems including solar and wind are used to provide power which they use for internet, domestic use and other productive uses.

With these technological advances and providing affordable access to these resources, it is estimated that about 3.9 billion more people will be empowered to engage in the digital economy and since these places are not connected to the grid; solar PV will be largely used for rural electrification using off-grid and distributed renewable energy systems.

In addition to implementing the above CSR projects, the Microsoft Company has implemented a comprehensive sustainability program to run its data centers with renewable energy systems such as solar PV, bio gas, wind and buying renewable energy credits to ensure its data centers are carbon neutral. By going renewables, Microsoft is helping to extend its CSR agenda by adopting clean power that is good for the environment, help to create markets for renewables and hence enhancing the economic and social dimensions of sustainability.

In conclusion, it is clear that CSR and sustainability are now good for your business and it is actually feasible to develop solar projects for such types of projects. 

If you are interested in learning more about CSR and how to go solar, please contact us at support@reneenergy.com to learn more and explore ways for engagement for future CSR projects. Switchingtosolarpv.com also helps individuals and businesses to find tools and resources to enable them decide about solar energy. To determine your solar potential for going solar, please check this solar calculator for more details. This solar calculator will enable you to answer the following questions:

Also promote this blog when you switch to 100% recycled paper products for your office at amazing prices available at The Green Office!

Switchingtsolarpv.com gets a small commission which goes towards the expenses of running such a blog and finding time to write such blogs for targeting individuals and businesses interested in adopting solar and sustainability. 

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How to adopt a green office for business

With the growing concerns of climate change and the need to move towards sustainability, many companies have realized that integrating sustainability into their business operations is not only profitable but helps to improve a company’s image while building its competitive edge. Today we see big corporations as well as small companies developing sustainability strategies that help them to innovate, create value and perform well in the marketplace because consumers are increasingly becoming aware of their production and consumption patterns in order to protect the eco-system.

In that regard, what are some of the low-hanging fruits of adopting a green office for your business? Is recycling or going solar good solutions for sustainability? This blog attempts to explain some low hanging fruits that small and medium-size businesses might want to explore to help them adopt a triple-bottom-line i.e. a business good for the environment, social and economic dimensions of sustainability. 

Is sustainability good for your bottom line?

Sustainability as a concept helps companies to innovate and become more efficient in their processes and operations. It helps companies to determine areas of continuous improvement or ways to conserve time, raw materials and reduce energy wastes while at the same time improving their bottom line. With sustainability, eco-efficiency is key to business processes helping companies to adopt the triple-bottom-line concept that is not only driven by profits but also the well being of society and the eco-system (environment) from which companies derive their raw materials.

What are some of the entry points for small and medium-sized businesses to adopt sustainability?

Implementing sustainability into business operations and processes can be implemented by small and medium-sized companies that are interested in creating a brand that recognizes the principle of sustainability has a value not only for their corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy but also profitable for companies in the long-term. However, since implementing sustainability can demand a lot of resources in terms of human capital, time and financial resources that many small companies may not have; companies can target low-hanging fruits such as greening their office operations and processes.

What are some of the low-hanging fruits for adopting a green office?

When you want to think about making your office sustainable, you can think about your inputs and outputs. Just like in an industrial process, you may want to find out your materials and energy balance i.e. what raw materials are you feeding into the system and what is the resultant (product or by-product) and as such you can identify areas for continuous improvement. It is about following your products and processes and seeing the impact they have on the environment, society and the economy. For instance, is your product made with biodegradable or recyclable materials or are your processes efficient and utilizing less energy and what components can be added to help minimize or completely eliminate waste.

With this background, perhaps you can start to figure out opportunities for adopting different technologies for your office or practices that can help reduce energy and eliminate waste. Some of the low-hanging fruits we can think of are energy and paper. Energy and paper are both inputs in a process called printing and some technologies or sustainability practices can be adopted to help your company become more profitable while helping to conserve planet earth. Energy is another input that you could target since it is being used to run your computers, printers, light bulbs, computer servers, air conditioning, refrigeration, scanners, and other office equipment.

By targeting energy and paper, you want to innovate, create value and determine how much you can save by optimizing your processes to use less energy and generate less paper waste.

So, what are some green office ideas when it comes to saving office paper and energy conservation?

  1. Saving office paper

Saving office paper is great for your pocket and for long-term sustainability since the cumulative savings of paper and cash will help to conserve trees and save you money that you could have used to purchase the extra paper. When it comes to determining the numbers for example how much paper you can save based on your current baseline, there are some tools out there like the office footprint calculator that can help you determine your sustainability impact.

In that regard, you want to determine some of the best practices that your office can adopt to change the trajectory of your paper usage through paper minimization strategies and recycling or buying recycled paper.

    • Some of the common practices is adjusting your printer’s default settings to automatically print on both sides of your paper.
    • Purchase energy-efficient printers that are Energy Star rated to conserve both energy and paper at the same time. There are various places that you can find energy-efficient printers. Check out the green office for some options.  Find energy-efficient printers, fax machines and more on Amazon!
    • Buy office paper that is recycled this could range anywhere from 25% recycled to 100% recycled. Such paper with recycled content is usually paper certified to sustainable forestry standards. You can learn more about buying green paper or recycled paper through Amazon. Learn more about how you can with the green office and Make Earth and your wallet happy! 100% recycled paper products at amazing prices available on Amazon!
    • Use electronic means such as emails and scanning to share information and this can save you tonnes of paper in the long-term.
  1. Energy conservation

Energy efficiency is one way of saving energy and can be explored to help you conserve energy in the long-term. Below are some ideas you may want to consider:

    • Switch to LED lighting and save on lighting costs
    • Adopt energy-efficient appliances for your office including energy-efficient printers, scanners and other equipment that uses energy. There are various places you can find such green office appliances.  Amazon has hundreds of green electronics, accessories and more!
    • Consider going solar which could reduce your energy bill with about 30% to 75% of your energy bill while at the same time improving your company’s brand. Today there are online solar calculators that can provide you with a good estimate of the savings that you can achieve with going solar. Check out this solar calculator to determine the cost of going solar and answer some questions you may have concerning switching to solar such as: 

These are just a few ideas that can help your company start moving towards being sustainable or achieving a triple-bottom-line (Environmental, Social and Economic).