A smart workplace is an efficient workplace. Technology has made it possible to do more in less time, bringing small businesses a sustainable competitive advantage. Even though the term ‘sustainable’ might sound like it only applies to larger companies with big budgets, there are many options open to all types of entrepreneurs that will save them money while also improving their environmental footprint. Here are several office technology solutions that are both sustainable and affordable for even the smallest of businesses.
By the team at Ink Genie
6 Green Technologies for the Sustainable Small Business
Solar power is a sustainable office technology option for small businesses and has been growing in popularity for many reasons. The solar power industry is an up-and-coming sector that has benefited from favorable government policies, including the recently extended 30% federal tax credit for solar (after 2016). Your small business might want to consider switching to solar power.
Solar panels turn energy obtained from sunlight into usable electricity that can be used at your workplace. Solar panel installations can be mounted on your roof or set up to stand on the ground (ground-mounted system). When switching to solar power, a common mistake is assuming that you need a roof-mounted system to benefit from solar energy. Many small businesses may use a ground-mounted system due to their good exposure to sunlight and relatively flat roofs.
The advantage of using a ground-mounted system is that it can often provide more electricity than a roof-mounted system, as different factors such as shading and snowfall do not come into play. The size of your business and how much electricity you use on an average day will determine whether or not this kind of installation is right for you.
Small businesses are constantly looking for ways to increase profits by reducing overhead expenses. One way to do this is through energy conservation. As it turns out, companies can significantly reduce their monthly utility bills by utilizing smart lighting technology.
There are several advantages to having smart lighting technology installed throughout your office space. The first is convenience; you don’t have to worry about leaving any room dark or adjusting lights when somebody works late. Another benefit is safety, as smart lights come with sensors that automatically turn on in an emergency. Finally, there are cost-saving measures that include more consistent energy consumption levels between different areas of your building, lower monthly energy bills thanks to LED lighting, and reduced maintenance costs due to longer-lasting bulbs.
If your business is large enough to have multiple office spaces, smart lights can also help streamline operations between departments that become confused by off-hours. Nobody wants to be working alone in their quiet little corner when all of a sudden the lights come on in another department or area of the building. With smart controls for your lighting systems, employees only work in well-lit spaces during busy hours.
LED UV Printing
LED UV printing is an office technology that uses LED lamps to cure ink deposited on paper. In the industry, this technology has been in use for many years. It was originally intended to replace other technologies in commercial offset printing because of certain advantages over conventional systems: speed and ease of use, among others. However, a few disadvantages made its use impractical in some applications where high-quality images needed to be produced in large quantities.
LED UV printers have largely overcome these limitations, which are now considered viable options for small businesses looking for sustainable office technologies without compromising quality or environmental responsibility. Instead of using heat plates and drums like conventional thermal transfer printers, LED UV printers use a patented UV-LED lamp technology to cure ink deposited on a substrate. This enables the production of high-resolution, vibrant images that do not smudge or fade even after repeated use and commercial printing.
The lamp technology also allows LED UV printers for full-color and monochrome applications without sacrificing speed or durability. This makes them ideal for producing business cards and brochures with equal ease and efficiency at ultrafast speeds, an advantage over conventional solvent printers, which are slower by comparison.
Smart meters are an energy management tool that supports more sustainable office practices. The modern smart meter can track electricity usage on a minute-by-minute basis, thanks to digital technology. They can provide up to seven days of detailed data on how much power is used throughout the day. As a result, they make it easier for small businesses to identify which appliances draw the most power and where potential savings might be found.
This can help you make your facility more efficient and lower your monthly utility bills. Smart meters also enable enhanced energy management through remote communication with your facility. They can work with wireless communication networks, including radiofrequency and cellular communication, to get the information they collect back to the utility company.
Remote meter reading is accurate because it’s not dependent on the meter reader having access to the vending machine or photocopier closet. The data that these devices provide can help you identify how much power is being used by what appliances in which areas of your building for each hour of every day throughout the month. It allows you to schedule critical equipment maintenance more easily, adjust thermostat settings, turn off unused electrical devices at times when they are drawing more energy than needed, and develop an overall plan to reduce your monthly power bills.
Recycle Old Ink Cartridges
According to Tree Hugger, it takes almost a gallon of oil to make one laser printer cartridge. After that, they are used and thrown away, with ink cartridges spending between 450 and 1,000 years decomposing in landfills. Additionally, approximately 350 million printer cartridges end up in landfills each year in just the United States. These facts are surprising because ink cartridges can easily be recycled!
If you have old ink cartridges, do not put them in the trash can. Recycling ink cartridges is the sustainable way to dispose of this highly used office material. Recycling allows companies to upcycle these materials so they can be used again and again, lessening our environmental impact.
Green Information Technology (IT)
Computers are essential tools for any modern business, but they also consume immense amounts of energy. It’s estimated that American businesses spend $11 billion annually powering computers that are turned off. Since so many people leave their computers on overnight to finish work or process large files, there is a tremendous amount of wasted electricity. Encourage employees to shut down their computers when they are done without being told, and provide advanced power management for the IT department to turn off network servers when not in use.
Finaly Thoughts on Sustainable Office Technology
Building a green office is all about being smart with technology to save energy and reduce waste. These tips will help any small business owner develop an eco-friendly, sustainable, and cost-effective workplace.