10 ways to reduce carbon footprints
By Jessica Oaks
There are plenty of reasons to green your business, from a legitimate concern for the planet to the money that using fewer resources can save. Then there is the fact that going green and telling the world about it can win you both accolades and new customers. Whatever reasons you have for reducing your office's carbon footprint, know that there are lots of ways that businesses at every size can minimize their environmental impact.
1. Use less paper. In some workplaces keeping paper records is a must but most companies can get by without printing – or even a printer – these days. Offices that aren't ready to go paper free can still make an effort to cut down on pointless printing and start a paper recycling program.
2. Buy remanufactured, secondhand and refurbished. Remanufactured ink and toner cartridges not only save money, they also help save the earth by reducing manufacturing energy consumption. Choosing secondhand goods when outfitting your office can do the same. One caveat: when it comes to buying older electronics make sure you're not going to end up using more energy to power them.
3. Switch to LEDs. The purchase price of these bulbs may be higher but they're going to last practically forever and they use hardly any energy. LEDs also don't contain the mercury and other toxic gases found in CFLs and incandescent bulbs.
4. Implement BYOD policies. In just a few years, it's likely that half of all white collar employees in the U.S. will be bringing their own devices to work and it's going to make workplaces greener. BYOD policies promote fewer devices overall, fewer desktops, and more electronics recycling means less pollution.
5. Buy green for the canteen. Biodegradable cleaners and air fresheners reduce your employees' exposure to harsh toxins and chemicals and ensure that everyone can breathe freely all day long. Instead of stocking the fridge with bottled water, buy a filter for the tap.
6. Make your energy alternative. Many utility companies now offer the option to specify where your electricity comes from, with wind and solar power being the most popular alternatives. Green power generally costs more but is also a lot more earth-friendly.
7. Encourage unconventional commuting. Public transportation may be all but absent in some parts of the U.S. but buses and trains aren't the only non-car option for getting to the office. Offer bonuses to employees who travel to and from work in alternative fuel or hybrid vehicles. Better still, reward those who bike to work.
8. Allow telecommuting. Cut down on commuting and you take commuters out of their cars and off the roads. Make work from home policies optional, though, because research has shown that telecommuters can actually use more resources in some cases.
9. Make partnerships green, too. When choosing vendors and other business partners look for those that proudly set and live up to sustainability guidelines. Ask about vendors' commitments to both the environment and the health of their employees during initial interviews and let them know that environmental consciousness is part of your company culture. Choose local suppliers that offer recycled options and take back packaging.
10. Power off everything at night. Provided yours isn’t a 24/7 business it's not difficult to assign the task of making sure computers, lights and other power-draining gadgets are powered down to whoever is closing up shop for the night. Or there are plenty of gizmos out there that can handle minimizing nighttime power drain automatically.
Author bio: Jessica Oaks is a freelance journalist who loves to cover technology news and the ways that technology makes life easier. She also blogs at FreshlyTechy.com. Check her out on Twitter @TechyJessy.
Drax advances biomass strategy with Pinnacle acquisition
The Group’s enlarged supply chain will have access to 4.9 million tonnes of operational capacity from 2022. Of this total, 2.9 million tonnes are available for Drax’s self-supply requirements in 2022, which will rise to 3.4 million tonnes in 2027.
The £424 million acquisition of the Canadian biomass pellet producer supports Drax' ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and will make a "significant contribution" in the UK cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 (click here).
This summer Drax will undertake maintenance on its CfD(2) biomass unit, including a high-pressure turbine upgrade to reduce maintenance costs and improve thermal efficiency, contributing to lower generation costs for Drax Power Station.
In March, Drax secured Capacity Market agreements for its hydro and pumped storage assets worth around £10 million for delivery October 2024-September 2025.
The limitations on BECCS are not technology but supply, with every gigatonne of CO2 stored per year requiring approximately 30-40 million hectares of BECCS feedstock, according to the Global CCS Institute. Nonetheless, BECCS should be seen as an essential complement to the required, wide-scale deployment of CCS to meet climate change targets, it concludes.