Top Five Tips for Using Technology to have an eco-friendly Christmas

Christmas festivities have an alarming impact on our environment due to wasted food, unnecessary packaging and extra travelling.

83 square km of wrapping paper and 6 million roles of sellotape are sold every year leading up to Christmas, while 4.2 million Christmas dinners are wasted across the UK. Small changes can be made to our Christmas routine such as ensuring our festive feasts are bought locally or buying a sustainable tree. However, technology can help decrease your carbon footprint beyond the holiday season. Surely, the environment is for life, not just for Christmas!

Christmas waste statistics infographic

LED lights

We are guilty of leaving our Christmas tree lights on for 10 hours a day over the 12 days of Christmas. This produces enough CO2 to inflate 12 balloons. Switching to LEDs (Light Emitting Diode) is a quick and simple way to dramatically reduce your Christmas impact. LEDs use up to 95% less energy than traditional bulbs and can last up to 100,000 hours when used indoors, before being replaced. Plus, their low energy means that their running costs are minimal.

Smarten up your home

With the extra time spent at home watching Christmas movies, it is a good time to consider the smart technology. Smart tech can reduce your footprints and your energy bills for Christmas and beyond. From remotely controlled bulbs to smart thermostats, there are a variety of ways that you can connect your home and be more smart about energy usage. Smart switches, for example, allow you to control your appliances automatically from your smartphone. With smart thermostat like Hive or Nest, you can manage your heating schedule, while GPS can detect when you’re on your way home.

Go online

It is debatable whether online shopping is a more environmentally friendly alternative to visiting a shopping centre. Once the extra pollution and traffic congestion caused by returns or rush delivery are factored in, online shopping may not be as green as we think. Scientists calculated Santa would have to visit 822 homes a second to deliver all his presents, travelling at 650 miles a second! Rushed shipping may be causing more carbon emissions than if presents had been when running errands or bought locally.

However, going online for other aspects of your Christmas routine cuts out unnecessary production of products. More than a billion cards are delivered every year- that’s enough to stretch around the world five times. While Christmas cards are considered an unbreakable tradition, the environmental impact is an unnecessary use of resources and postal mileage. With the ability to add video and interactivity, e-cards can be as exciting as a handwritten greeting. In a recent survey, a third of young people chose to send virtual messages over a card. A fifth of people admitted they won’t send a Christmas card this year at all. 47% of young professionals will simply send a text to their friends and family, while 38% would choose Social Media. Although some may consider this the end of a tradition, online greetings is a big step towards an eco-friendly Christmas.

Rechargeable batteries

How many batteries will you need this year to feed new toys and gadgets? The toxic chemicals used are bad for the environment and harmful to humans and wildlife. Rechargeable batteries not only conserve resources but also can save money despite their initial costs. USBCELL batteries can be charged using a USB stick and the powerslayer USB charger only delivers energy when needed preventing overcharging and wasted energy.

Green gadgets

Promote sustainability amongst your friends and family by giving a fun green gadget. The port solar charger charges your phone while attached to a window, converting natural daylight into power for your devices. The Water Pebble is a gadget that helps reduce the amount of water wasted by taking long showers. It monitors the amount of water used and displays different lights to help you to shorten your shower. Alternatively find hand powered alternatives of gadgets that won’t require batteries, such as the Sun & Cloud Camera, a digital camera that is solar powered or wound by hand.

At ITVET we are keen to promote sustainability. Technology doesn’t only help maintain our environment but it also makes good business sense.

Read our previous blog post for information about how sustainability can boost productivity. If you would like to discuss how to improve your company’s footprint email [email protected] or call 01279 464 470.


Sustainability: 5 examples of how sustainable tech improves productivity

IT sustainability

We recently visited Regent Street’s annual sustainability day at the newly refurbished 7 Air Street to discuss their environmental initiatives. From waste repurposing to endorsing health and well-being amongst their staff members, the management behind the Regent Street’s buildings are conscious of how their work affects their carbon footprint and the surrounding community. Introducing measures such as rooftop allotments and bee keeping, Regent Street Management Direct are pioneering interesting ways of promoting sustainability. We were at the event to discuss how technology reduces your carbon footprint and boost the productivity of your employees.

These five changes to your IT will improve your company’s sustainability but at the same can save you money too:

 

paper free

Encourage your team to go paperless

Printing documents wastes paper, toner and energy. Going paperless cuts down on deforestation, pollution and fuel consumption; do you really need a hard copy of that Excel spreadsheet? The benefits don’t stop there though, a paperless office is more organized and secure. Instead of searching through scraps of paper and needing giant filing cabinets to store documents, going digital allows speedier file searching, secure backups and a tighter hold of document version control.

If there are essential documents that must be printed, encourage double sided printing and ensure that your printer’s toner settings are optimized to the lowest settings. This saves on resources to guarantee that your machine is not using more ink than necessary.

Night energy saving PC

switch PCs off at night or when not in use

Encourage your team to turn off machines or on to power save mode at night or when they are away from their desks. This will save money on bills but prevents power wastage, improving your sustainability. Computers also benefit from an occasional reboot as it allows updates.

sustainable technology

Replace old hardware and processes

Old hardware is less energy efficient. We can provide you with lower energy, fully recyclable hardware solutions, saving you money on your energy bills. Updated equipment prevent your employees from being held back by slow, laggy, overheating machines, alleviating frustration and boosting productivity. Replacing redundant technologies such as fax or franking machines with newer technology allows speedier working and saves money on resources.

remote working

Consider working remotely

Allowing employees to work remotely cuts down on space needed in office with fewer desks and less hardware needed. Home workers pay for their own computers, electricity and other utilities saving you money. Plus, Reducing the number of employees commuting to the office cuts down the pollution caused by traveling. Video conferencing for meetings is a further example of how remote technology improves efficiency, by saving you on travel cost and wasted time. Again, this allows resources to be used more effectively and promote greener ways of working.

data automation

Can you automate this process?

Using software to automate processes where possible, reduces the amount of labour required for potentially simple tasks. This saves on resources and improves productivity by allowing repeated tasks to work seamlessly in the background so your team can work on more important tasks rather than inconvenient menial ones. Automation reduces errors, enforces standards and ensures accountability by taking out the potential for human error and being able to track steps of processes.

Once automated, collecting data from the different aspects of your business allows you to capture key info and help pinpoint where productivity can be optimized. This gives you insight into what parts of your company works well and what can be done to improve. The ability to streamline processes and work more efficiently as a company improves sustainability reducing lost time, benefiting the whole team.

If you would like to discuss how you can improve your business’ sustainability email [email protected] or call 01279 464 470.


Festival of Code 2015

logo--festival

The Young Rewired State (YSR) Festival Of Code returns this August and one of the ITVET Team members will be at the Cambridge centre helping young coders, designers and developers find their calling and hone their skills.

Young Rewired State is an international community of digital makers aged 18 and under. They aim to find and nurture young coders to use their knowledge to improve their communities, encourage peer to peer learning and equip these young people with the skills needed to be the rising tech stars of the future. The rate of growth of the digital industries is threatening a skill shortage and YRS aims to provide a platform for keen young people to pursue a career in technology.

Their annual Festival of Code, running from July 27 to August 2, brings together communities from all over the world for a week of digital making fun. With 66 centres located across the UK and online mentoring available for international participants, this is an excellent opportunity for under 18s to share their technical knowledge, develop their skills and make lifelong friends.

The week is spent building apps, websites, games, and inventing crazy contraptions. At the end of the week, all contestants meet in Birmingham, where they present their projects to expert judges, mentors, the press, and other participants. The best entries from each group will go through to the finals, where exciting prizes are awarded for a range of different categories.

This year’s categories include:

1.Best Example of Code

2. Best Example of Design

3. The ‘Should Exist’ Award

4. Code a Better Country

5. Best in Show

6. The People’s Choice

 If you want to get involved you can sign up as a volunteer, mentor or participant here.