Businesses need technology and that need is never going to go away. In fact, it’s probably going to continue increasing as businesses change and evolve alongside the technologies that become available. Businesses then, have a responsibility to adopt greener methods and use technology responsibly. I’m not referring solely to those renewable methods such as solar panels, but also to this new breed of energy efficient, green technology that comes with its own set of environmental – and monetary – benefits.
More and more businesses are installing smart lighting systems. Certainly, these installations may come as a result of an increase in environmentally conscientious business owners; it’s possible. But realistically, the current popularity of smart lighting systems probably comes as a result of the fact that they save businesses money by cutting energy usage. Either way; they’re good for both businesses and the environment.
Smart lights turn themselves off whenever a room is left unoccupied. No more employees leaving the lights on! Imagine the energy savings a green technology system like this would have on a particularly large building or site with several buildings, especially ones with a lot of footfall such as schools. Many smart lighting systems connect to the internet and can be adjusted remotely, so you’re always aware and in control of your lighting usage.
There are cheaper energy saving lighting systems for businesses or institutions lacking the budget for green technology such as smart lighting; systems that run on programmable timers are a good energy – and money – saving option.
As an up and coming green technology, smart heating systems have similar benefits to smart lighting systems. Smart thermostats also connect to the internet and can be adjusted remotely, so you can warm up the office before you arrive! They also give you the ability to adjust the heating in different areas of the building, so that energy is not wasted heating vacant rooms. Smart heating gives you much more control over your gas usage and encourages you to adopt a much more vigilant attitude, helping you cut costs and reduce your carbon footprint – everybody wins!
Businesses and homes now have the option of installing smart meters that track your electricity and gas usage. Smart meters give you an up-to-date and much clearer reading of exactly how much energy you’re using and what this will cost you. By keeping you aware of your expenditure, smart meters are showing businesses where they can cut costs and reduce their energy usage. A lot of business owners use this information to implement energy saving programmes within their company and track how much they’ve saved.
Demand-side response is a way for businesses to help energy usage on a national scale. Basically, companies that use a lot of energy regularly, factories, retailers, etc., shift the times of their major energy usage to when national usage is low. According to The Guardian, companies such as Sainsbury’s – with their fridges and freezers, are at the forefront of demand-side response. They have chips installed in their fridges that switch the fridges off during periods when demand on the national grid is high. The food still stays cold during this brief period and national consumption is lower. This decreases the need for the development of yet another power station that will only be necessary during these brief moments of particularly high energy usage.
Businesses can sign up to special tariffs and schemes that reward them for taking part.
Battery Technology – Energy Storage
We know a bit about battery storage but it is far from ubiquitous in business, despite its potential as a green technology. According to McKinsey ‘storage is starting to play a broader role in energy markets, moving from niche uses such as grid balancing to broader ones such as replacing conventional power generators for reliability, providing power quality services, and supporting renewable integration’. So, if a business has battery technology installed, they can store any energy surplus produced and use it at a later date. This can be a surplus of energy from their generators, solar panels or other renewable methods. Storing energy left over from a particularly sunny day means that it could be used on a gloomier one, decreasing the amount of fossil fuel energy the business would have to use to make up for the absence of solar power. Furthermore, storage would help reduce strain on the national grid at peak times, aiding the efforts of demand-side response.
Pretty much every business requires the use of at least one computer, if not many, many more. Whether you use a computer for daily tasks, payroll management or transaction logs is somewhat irrelevant; you have a need that isn’t going anywhere. So, how can we make computer technology more efficient? Well, in addition to turning all of your devices off when they’re not in use, you can now install energy saving software such as Granola onto your computer to, ‘tune up your computer’s own energy saving hardware’ (TIME). This is an easy and relatively cheap way to decrease your energy usage of which most people are not aware. Installing software such as this on one computer may not make a huge difference but it’s certainly a step in the right direction, particularly when combined with other energy saving efforts. On the other hand, installing energy saving software on hundreds of computers could have dramatic impacts that will lower your bills and fossil fuel requirements.
Green Technology Saves You Money
If we are going to continue using technology so that our businesses may thrive, we need to be more proactive when it comes to saving energy. Even if it’s purely for money-saving reasons! Speak to one of our informed tech consultants for more information on green technology.