Your business’s carbon footprint is an estimate of the total amount of greenhouse gasses produced to, directly and indirectly, build and operate your business.
Greenhouse gasses can include carbon dioxide, which occurs when fossil fuels are burned. Methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorinated gases like what are used in air conditioning are also greenhouse gases.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the primary source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. comes from electricity production. This is because most electricity comes from burning fossil fuels. After electricity production, the next most significant contributor is transportation including planes, cars and trains.
Of course, greenhouse gases aren’t the only things that impact the environment.
If you’re a business owner, certain things you do, from simple to more complex investments, can help you reduce your overall environmental impact and carbon footprint.
The following are some things to keep in mind to make your business more environmentally conscious and more sustainable overall.
The Footprint of Your Tech Environment
One area that can have the most significant impact if your goal is reducing your footprint is your IT department. Even if your organizational goal is primarily decreasing energy bills, the tech department is a great place to start. For example, if you were to use an ARM64 processor then you can get things done quickly and it also helps you reduce your carbon footprint and save on energy.
When you choose certain types of equipment, you can look for Energy Star characteristics, as well as Blue Angel and TPC-Energy.
HP as a technology vendor has the HP Carbon Footprint Calculator for printing. You can use online calculators to compare the emissions profiles of different products.
The Green Grid is an organization in the industry working to help make sure future IT products and equipment grow increasingly environmentally friendly and efficient.
Work Toward a Zero Waste Model
The way we do business now, including production, consumption, and materials disposal, accounts for around 42% of all of America’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Taking a zero-waste approach can significantly cut down on adverse climate effects of your business, even in the short term.
To take a zero-waste approach, start by assessing how much waste you’re currently generating, managing, and disposing of.
Look at where you’re generating waste, how often, and where it’s going.
From there, when you have a better idea of where you focus, you can start putting in place strategies to reduce, reuse and recycle.
Use Renewable Energy
For a business to utilize renewable energy like solar power, it does require an upfront investment. However, you’ll save money in the long run when you do so.
You can lease or buy renewable energy equipment to be installed onsite at your business, with solar panels being the most accessible and practical option. You may qualify for a federal tax credit when you invest in solar panels too.
If you have limited space or you don’t own your workspace, you can purchase renewable energy from your power company in some cases. For example, you may be able to buy green service.
Reduce Business Travel
One thing that happened during COVID-19 was that business travel came to a halt. Now, it’s returned somewhat, but many companies are rethinking their old practices as far as business travel.
We realized during the pandemic that maybe in-person business travel just isn’t that necessary with the availability of technology-driven communication solutions.
You can also create a more sustainable business by allowing remote and hybrid work schedules, which again was something that became much more prevalent during the pandemic.
Strategies in the Office
Some of the tips above are more comprehensive overall strategies to reduce your carbon footprint, but there are also simpler things you can do around the office at the same time.
For example, avoid single-use coffee cups and other items. Around 15 billion paper coffee cups are thrown away every year just in the U.S.
Work toward becoming a paperless office that is becoming more accessible than ever thanks to cloud-based solutions. You can also save around $80 per employee on average when you go paperless, in addition to reducing CO2 emissions.
Replace office lighting with efficient solutions that utilize LED bulbs and maximize natural light. Using motion sensors can help you ensure lights aren’t on if they aren’t being used, and dimmers on lights let you customize lighting for whatever the situation calls for.
Finally, work with an expert to figure out the correct type of thermostat for your office to effectively manage heating and cooling and cut your energy bill while ensuring your employees stay comfortable.